Life insurance is a unique asset in that it serves numerous diverse functions in a tax-favored environment. Life insurance proceeds are received income tax free and, if properly owned by an Irrevocable Life Insurance Trust, life insurance proceeds can also be received free of estate tax.
An Irrevocable Life Insurance Trust (ILIT) is one of the most popular wealth planning devices. It is a trust designed to own a life insurance policy, usually on the lives of you and your spouse. You gift funds to the trust periodically and the trustee uses the funds to pay premiums on the life insurance policy. The trust is designed to produce benefits for your family.
• Make current gifts to family members.
• Accumulate assets outside the client’s taxable estate.
• Protect assets from claims of creditors.
• Avoid income tax on the accumulation of funds.
• Avoid estate tax upon the distribution of funds to the family.
• Create a source of liquidity to cover estate taxes or expenses.
• Replace assets that may have been given to charity.