Trust is an effective way to safeguard the future of your loved ones. It is a legal arrangement that includes a trustee that manages the assets of your (the trust’s) beneficiaries. One method of funding the trust is by purchasing a life insurance policy, which will provide funds to your beneficiaries during your death.
If you have dependents or children, making a life insurance trust could assist you in planning for their future and ensure they’re taken care of in the manner you’d like to when you’re gone.
Steps To Fund a Trust With Life Insurance
In general, you’ll need to follow these steps to establish a trust using the life insurance.
1. Find out the type of trust you want to establish.
Two types of trusts for life insurance are irrevocable and irrevocable. Consider factors like your financial circumstances and goals for estate planning will help you choose the appropriate trust to meet your needs.
Irrevocable Life Insurance Trust (ILIT)
The irrevocable trust for life (ILIT) is a trust type that holds and administers the life insurance policy. It is “irrevocable” because it cannot be altered or canceled after it’s been created.
It is impossible to alter or revoke an irrevocable trust after it’s set up. A revocable trust could be the best option if you want to be flexible.
Consider an ILIT as an unlocked box where you can put an insurance policy for life. When you place it there, you cannot alter your Mind or even change the policy. It’s already in place.
However, giving control to another person has advantages. Suppose you establish an unrevocable trust (instead of a revocable trust). In that case, getting rid of estate taxes and demands from creditors is possible, giving a more significant inheritance to the beneficiaries of your life insurance trust.
Revocable Life Insurance Trust (RLIT)
An irrevocable life insurance trust (RLIT) is a form of trust that, unlike an ILIT, can be modified or canceled in case of a grant at any point. They are also referred to as living trusts.
With an RLIT, You retain complete control of the policy and can alter the terms of the trust according to your preferences. The trust will be irrevocable upon your death or when you are incapacitated.
REITs don’t offer the same tax benefits in the same way as ILITs. Since the grantor is still in all control of the policy’s life, it becomes in the estate of their deceased loved ones and is subject to estate taxes on the grantor’s death. (Estate taxes are only applicable to estates with a large amount.)
2. Select the beneficiaries of the life insurance trust.
Once you’ve decided on the kind of trust that meets your needs, you’ll select the trust’s beneficiaries. Take note of the members of your family members or heirs who will be the beneficiaries and the amount each one will receive. The trust should define how the proceeds will be spent to pay for tuition at a college medical expenses, or other financial obligations.
Suppose you’ve got a kid with special needs or disabilities. In that case, an insurance trust for life can provide for them without compromising their eligibility for government benefits. Creating a special trust for those with special needs within the trust for life insurance will ensure that your child’s needs are met without denying them access to Medicaid and Supplemental Security Income (SSI).
3. Determine how much insurance you will need.
Next, you must determine your life insurance requirements. One method to determine the coverage requirements is using the live insurance calculator.
There are a variety of other strategies you can employ, including using the DIME method. The DIME method utilizes income, debts, mortgage, education, and debt to assess the life insurance requirements but does not consider savings or other costs, such as childcare costs.
It is important to note that the size of the life insurance you require will be contingent on your family’s present and future financial needs. For instance, if you have children in the early years, it may be beneficial to buy more insurance so that the trust can cover the future needs of their education. In addition, inflation, estate taxes, funeral expenses, and potential legal expenses associated with administering the trust can affect your final figure.
A knowledgeable financial advisor can assist you in creating a life insurance amount suitable for your needs.
4. Choose the kind of life insurance you want.
If you’re creating the life insurance trust, you should typically choose a perpetual term life insurance policy that won’t expire. However, if price is an issue, choosing a short-term life insurance policy is less expensive and still substantially benefits the trust. The downside to using the term life insurance policy is you may exceed the term of your policy, and renewing a life insurance policy is highly costly.
Consult a financial adviser to determine the best life insurance suitable to fund your trust.
5. You can purchase the life insurance.
Finding Life insurance rates is essential. If you’re buying a perpetual Life insurance coverage, you should consider charges for the policy and the rate of growth of the cash value. The high cost of the policy could eat away at the value of your cash. Engage a skilled Financial advisor or a life insurance broker to ensure you are aware of the cost of the policy, not just the price quote.
Applying for a life insurance policy usually includes a medical exam and a thorough review of your lifestyle and health routines.
It would help if you named your trust’s name as beneficiary on your insurance. It will guarantee that funds are directly paid to the trust.
6. Transfer the ownership of the policy to the trust.
The last step involves the transfer of the ownership of the life insurance coverage in trust to you.
To transfer ownership, the person who grants (aka the owner of a life insurance policy) must fill out a form provided by the insurance company and give details about the trust. This process is usually completed with the assistance of an expert estate planning attorney who can ensure that all legal documents and papers are correctly filed.
After the ownership transfer, the trust will be accountable for paying premiums, taking the death benefit, and overseeing all aspects related to the plan.
Reasons To Fund a Trust With Life Insurance
More than peace of Mind, you might want to consider using life insurance to pay for the trust for many reasons.
The tax benefits of the life insurance trust
Tax benefits are contingent upon the type of irrevocable or irrevocable trust. It could include:
- Tax reduction on estates: With an irrevocable insurance trust, the death benefit isn’t included in the grantor’s estate and isn’t taxed as an estate unless the grantor passes away within the initial three years in the term of the insurance.
- Tax-free death benefit: Beneficiaries generally don’t have to pay taxes on income earned from irrevocable trusts for life.
Benefits of estate planning in the Life Trust
Life insurance trusts offer these benefits for estate planning:
- Protection of assets: Insurance trusts that are irrevocable shield the death benefit of judgments and creditors.
- Probate avoidance: Life insurance-funded trusts avoid probate, thereby saving the time and money of beneficiaries.
- Distribution Control: Trusts offer control over the distribution of assets, allowing policyholders to decide how the death benefit payout is utilized.
- Liquidity. Life insurance trusts can provide liquidity for the beneficiaries of estates with large amounts to pay estate tax without having to dissolve assets such as real estate or business.
Drawbacks of Life Insurance Trusts
However, despite the advantages of using life trusts for insurance, there are a few drawbacks. This includes:
- High costs. Due to the complex process of establishing and running an insurance trust for life, the legal costs could be very high.
- Control issues. Once you place funds into an irrevocable trust, you lose control over their allocation and use. It is crucial to establish the trust so that it can continue paying premiums. This limitation does not apply to revocable life insurance trusts that you can modify at any time.
- Three-year timeframe for lookback. If the grantor dies within three years after establishing an irrevocable insurance trust, it may be a part of their estate and thus taxed.
Is Funding a Trust With Life Insurance Worth It?
Establishing a trust using life insurance is worthwhile because it can ensure a smooth transfer in wealth generation. It also provides confidence.
Since every family’s situation is specific to each family, it’s crucial to speak with experts like financial advisors and Estate planning lawyers. This way, you’ll know you’ve created an insurance trust for life suited to your family’s requirements.