Including a trust that owns life insurance in your estate planning strategy can have the following benefits:
MANAGEMENT. If you have a large estate and plan to pass a significant inheritance to children, an Irrevocable Life Insurance Trust (ILIT) enables you to appoint someone to manage the trust’s assets. The trustee you select could be an individual, such as one of your adult children, or a financial institution. Be sure to select someone qualified to manage significant assets.
INCOME RATHER THAN PRINCIPAL. Many times, parents have one or more children who will not act responsibly if they receive a substantial or lump-sum inheritance, so they designate an insurance trust to receive the insurance proceeds. The trust holds and invests the trust assets and then pays income to the children, either for a specified number of years, with a lump-sum payout of the trust balance at the end of such term, or for the lives of the children. The trustee may also be given the discretion to distribute principal to the beneficiaries to cover education expenses or unanticipated healthcare or other needs.
TAX SAVINGS. If your estate is more than the federal exemption, it may be subject to taxes at a very high rate. An ILIT is an attractive planning tool for individuals with taxable estates. The trust can be used to leave an inheritance to family that is exempt from federal estate and income taxes. For this reason, many people like to combine a charitable remainder trust (CRT) with an insurance trust. With the CRT, parents can fund a trust, tax-free, that pays them income for life and the ILIT will provide their children with an inheritance.