Life insurance may be the only way to create an estate immediately. What exactly does this mean? There are many benefits to purchasing term life insurance but this ability to so simply create an estate among the many options that require time, attorneys, and money may be one of the greatest. Let’s look at how you can instantly create an estate.
First, what is an estate? A person’s estate in simple terms is the net total of assets, properties and other items that are owned. The context we are using the word estate in has to do with the plan for how these assets will be handled upon the trigger of some event..such as the death of the owner. This is usually handled via documents such as wills, deeds, and/or trusts. Estate planning is a world onto itself and is not within the purview of this website. How we are concerned with estates and estate planning is the singular ability of life insurance to immediately create an estate with out other documents such as will, deeds, or trusts. Typically, an estate planner or attorney helps to craft these documents under the heading of estate planning for a person as each person’s situation is different and requires a specific fit.
Estate planning is important in that it correctly states how things will progress during the process of probate. Probate is the the legal process of administering a deceased person’s estate.
Although there are many variables that come into play during the process of estate planning (hence the need for a professional estate planner), only life insurance creates an immediate estate. This means that the contract itself automatically dictates where the life policy benefit will go. To some extent, the life insurance policy allows this money to bypass the sometimes complicated and technical world of probate. It’s built directly into the contract and does not need to be established elsewhere to correctly be processed when the insured person passes away. This is a relief and part of the attraction to life insurance. The benefit of the “head of the line” status for life insurance benefits is that in avoiding probate, it also by that nature avoids taxation and potential debts. It passes directly to the life insurance beneficiary. If an asset is not correctly handled during the estate planning process, it can be subject to probate which may lead to taxation, offsets by existing debts, and other complications.
In some ways, life insurance benefits are like property in the context of estate planning. It’s pretty remarkable that a monthly premium of $40-50 can result in a non-taxed $500K or half a million dollars if a person passes away. This $500K is no different than a liquidated piece of property which is not subject to taxation, debts, etc. There is a huge different between $500K before and after tax. When money comes to a person in a lump sum, the maximum tax limit is usually applied to the large amount. The ability to create an immediate estate is just one more advantage of purchasing term life insurance.