One of the main reasons why individuals choose life insurance policies is to secure assets and ensure that loved ones are taken care of in the event of an unexpected death. What they might not know is that creating a plan also means reducing fees and taxes, making more of the assets available to their loved ones in the event of their death.
Below, we’ll discuss the role of taxes on life insurance benefits and take a look at what you need to know.
In most cases, life insurance policies are not taxed. The taxes that are paid come from the estate of the deceased, typically taking into account all assets and all debts before being distributed to beneficiaries. Life insurance will automatically payout in the event of the policyholder’s death, avoiding taxes and other fees typically tacked on.
There is one case where life insurance can be subject to taxes, and that’s when there is no beneficiary to receive benefits. This could be due to failure to appoint by the policyholder or could be due to the death of the beneficiary before the policyholder.
For that reason, it’s recommended to choose a beneficiary for your life insurance policy, ensuring that it won’t get lost in your estate. If it does, you could be subject to more taxes and fees than you might have bargained for.
For those with permanent insurance policies, there is an option to collect what’s known as a cash value. Over time, a premium is paid where it goes directly into a cash value, giving policyholders a chance to take out loans or withdraw directly from them.
There is also an option to choose a full surrender, in which case the whole life policy is terminated, and policyholders can access their cash value. The only time that this cash value is subject to taxes is when policyholders withdraw, and the value is more than agreed upon by the initial contract.
If there is any interest accumulated over time that beneficiaries receive upon the death of the policyholder, it is also subject to taxes and could wind up dragging the entire value down in the process.
When beneficiaries receive their death benefit, they typically won’t need to report anything as far as taxes. The only occasion that they may need to watch out for is interest, especially if there was an abundance of overage in the value of the cash benefit.
Finding out whether or not tax benefits are going to be taxed is not something that beneficiaries need to find out on their own. The insurance providers will send a slip to know as the T5 slip, which will discuss the interest earned on the death benefit.
From there, beneficiaries will have a better idea of the amount of taxes they have to pay due to interest, able to plan ahead of time.
There are all sorts of policies out there, not all of them are created equal. It’s for that reason that those looking for life insurance should take measures to secure their assets, doing so in a way that creates the least hassle for their beneficiaries. There are several ways that policyholders can use their policy wisely, including:
The best way to get the most out of your life insurance policy is to take advantage of the opportunity to collect cash value. When you’re able to collect a cash value, you can take our loans or simply withdraw from your account, enjoy a tax-free option to access cash.
While the cash value does decrease the death benefit, it also ensures that some of the debts and obligations of one’s estate are paid down. This will help keep the estate at its maximum value and ensure that beneficiaries won’t have to take on a burden when inheriting.
Even if you have a last will and testament, you will not be able to change or appoint a beneficiary for your life insurance policy. Your life insurance and your will are two different things, and one does not affect or determine the other, as long as beneficiaries are involved.
When you choose beneficiaries for your life insurance policy, you not only want to make sure that they are trustworthy but that they will use the death benefit to secure the things you love about the most. If you appointed a beneficiary and they happen to pass before you, be sure to change your beneficiary so that you can guarantee that your funds will stay with you.
Policyholders also have the option to offset estate taxes, doing so by using their death benefit wisely. To do so, policyholders should work with a professional that can make the proper calculations to make a useful analysis of their assets vs. their life insurance policy.
Combining both together, policyholders can find the exact amount that they will need to offset taxes and ensure that their beneficiaries get the most benefit. It’s typical to choose the spouse or one’s children, helping to relieve some of the burdens they could feel in the event of the policyholder’s death.
There is a lot to consider when it comes to creating an estate plan, one of which is taxes. Many life insurance holders don’t think too much about taxes, especially because policies are known to be tax-free. Still, they should make sure that they are taking all the steps to avoid taxes and leaving their loved ones with the maximum inheritance in the meantime.
It can be difficult to know all of the options one has for life insurance, inheritance, and taxes, which is why it’s recommended to work with a professional.
Give Sim a call for a look at your options and how you can secure your assets without taxes getting in the way. Your loved ones will get more in return and your estate can be better protected when using your death benefit.
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