Risk Resource specializes in wholistic life insurance strategies for estate planning, including wealth transfer and legacy planning. With over 40 years of experience and licensed in most states, we represent 100+ insurance companies allowing us to select the most competitive rates from the highest rated insurance carriers in the industry. Our capacity and wherewithal makes us uniquely qualified to handle the insurance requirements of individuals, families, and businesses alike.
Understanding your options and deciding on a plan that is best for you and your family is no easy task. We believe that the process becomes more meaningful and insightful when working directly with real, genuine experts while growing a relationship over time.
Our process begins with getting to know you and understanding your needs. Once your objectives are defined, our team will simplify the process of securing your coverage as efficiently and timely as possible.
At Risk Resource, not only do we want to help you achieve your current goals, but we want to be there to answer your questions and provide continual service for many years to come.
Life Insurance for Complex Estate Planning
Complex estate plans often involve high net worth individuals with substantial assets and more intricate financial structures. Life insurance can play a crucial role in such ways:
- Estate Liquidity: High net worth individuals may have a significant portion of their wealth tied up in illiquid assets like real estate or business interests. Life insurance provides the liquidity needed to cover estate taxes and other obligations, preventing the forced sale of these assets.
- Business Succession: For those who own businesses, life insurance can be integral to a succession plan. It ensures that heirs receive the necessary funds to buy out other family members or partners, facilitating a smooth transition of business ownership.
- Charitable Giving: Life insurance can support charitable bequests. Complex estate plans often involve philanthropic goals, and life insurance can be used to create a significant donation to a favored charity, leaving a lasting legacy.
- Wealth Protection: For ultra-high net worth individuals, life insurance can be a tool for protecting wealth across generations. By utilizing strategies like Irrevocable Life Insurance Trusts (ILITs), individuals can shield insurance proceeds from estate taxes and creditors, preserving wealth for their heirs.
- Family Harmony: In complex estates, disputes among beneficiaries can be more likely due to the distribution of substantial assets. Life insurance can help mitigate conflicts by ensuring that heirs receive a fair share of the estate without having to liquidate assets prematurely.
Life Insurance for Simple Estate Planning
Simpler estate plans typically involve individuals with modest assets and straightforward family structures. In such cases, life insurance serves several essential purposes:
- Immediate Liquidity: Life insurance provides an immediate source of funds to cover funeral expenses, outstanding debts, and estate administration costs. It ensures that these financial burdens do not burden your loved ones or delay the distribution of your assets.
- Income Replacement: If you are the primary breadwinner in your family, life insurance can replace your income, helping your surviving family members maintain their standard of living. This is especially crucial if you have dependents who rely on your financial support.
- Estate Equalization: Life insurance can be used to equalize inheritances among multiple beneficiaries. For instance, if you intend to leave your business to one child and other assets to another, life insurance can ensure that each child receives an equitable share.
- Estate Tax Mitigation: In some cases, life insurance can help offset potential estate taxes, ensuring that your heirs receive a more substantial portion of your estate. While simple estates may not always be subject to estate taxes, this can change as your assets grow over time.
- Other Purposes: Additional uses for life insurance may also include spousal insurance, loan repayment (e.g., a mortgage), supplementing retirement funds, wealth accumulation, replacing a charitable gift, collateral, and court-ordered life insurance for a divorce decree.
What if you were to die today?
Many people recognize the benefits of planning for the future. Such efforts often uncover problems and frequently provide the motivation to make needed changes. For the most part, the issues involved are positive and enjoyable (e.g., retirement, well-educated children, etc.).
Planning for the unexpected – known as risk management – can be less pleasant. A key part of risk management is answering the question, “What if I were to die today?” Preparing for an untimely death is often referred to as “survivor benefit planning.” As a subset of estate planning, it addresses the need to keep one’s family in their current financial state.
Understandably, no one likes to contemplate their own demise. For some, death seems like a distant, future event. Others are simply too busy. Whatever the reason, delaying this part of planning can result in expensive, unintended, even tragic consequences.
Survivor Benefit Needs
The ultimate purpose of survivor benefit planning is twofold: (1) To ensure that the ongoing income needs of the survivor(s) are met, and (2) To provide for immediate lump-sum cash needs.
- Income needs: How much income will the survivors need, now and in the future, to cover the following:
- Household living expenses: Will the family stay in the same house? Can they afford to? Do they want to? Will they have the option?
- Additional childcare: Will there be a need for help with young children?
- Educational expenses: Will there be enough money for college tuition?
- Lump-sum needs: How much will the survivors need immediately in cash? Consider the following:
- Final expenses: More than funeral, this includes unpaid medical bills, which after a long illness, can be substantial.
- Mortgage payoff and debt reduction: Will it be important to provide a paid-off house? Are there debts that should be retired?
One Final Question
If you died today, would your plan be ready?