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Old 11-07-2010, 02:39 AM   #21
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It has to be an ILIT otherwise it will still be taxable as part of the estate calculation. .
If the kids own the policy on the deceased, why wouldn't it be part of their estate and not the deceased.
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Old 11-07-2010, 05:07 AM   #22
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Life insurance and the IRS provision for (no tax) is under scrutiny. As congress looks for tax revenue this loophole is likely to be capped or have a qualifier to be tax free.

Shift to Wealthier Clientele Puts Life Insurers in a Bind - WSJ.com

In the past Life Insurance was used to provide family income/needs if the bread winner died and the income was lost. However, in the last 2 decades, an increasing amount of life insurance is being used mainly for tax avoidance purposes. Less is providing family income needs.


If the tax treatment changes (on life insurance) and they purchased a large life policy (to pay the tax), it may not solve the problem... in other words, the cost of the insurance dollar for dollar might wind up covering much less of the tax bill for the overall estate.

Issues around taxes may be more clear when congress works out what they are going to do with taxes in the next session of congress (so call Bush tax cuts).

To mitigate the risk of rule changes (as the Fed, State, and Local govts look for tax revenue), they might consider splitting it up several ways just in case IRS Rules/Laws change.

  1. Gift as much as allowed
  2. Some form of Irrevocable Trust that provides tax protection (If it fits the overall plan)
  3. Life Insurance.
  4. Move tax qualified money into a Roth IRA

Talk to an attorney that specializes in estate planning... many team up with a CPA to work through the details.
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Old 11-07-2010, 06:39 AM   #23
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With your friends assets he really needs a top notch Estate Attorney and CPA. When one spouse dies, the assets do not necessarily flow to the other spouse. It depends on how things are titled and if trusts have been set up. A few things for your friend to consider:

1. The Unified Tax Credit (UTC) amount is currently either 3 or 3.5 million. Your friend should use the full amount of his UTC immediately and give that much to his children. It will put those assets in the hands of his children, reduce his estate keeping those assets from growing inside his estate creating an even bigger "estate" issue for him down the road. He doesn't have to do this all at one time...but this is the way to "give" more than the $13K/person per year. The risk to not doing it now...is that the UTC reverts back to 1 million. I think this is unlikely...as Congress understands the burden this puts on those inheriting small businesses and farms.
If he does the above his assets will be down to 6.5 million.
and if he successfuly "gifts" the $26K a year on top of this......his assets will be eventually be down to 4 million (theoretically - because his assets are growing while he's shoveling it out).
Any amount over the Unified Tax Credit amount at the time of his death is taxable at a Federal rate of 45%. State taxes may also apply.

Notes: If he doesn't want to put that much money into the hands of his children now...he could set up trusts for them, fund the trust...and put age limits on when the trust is dissolved..etc...etc. But with 10 children he may not want this headache. Can you imagine keeping up with 10 separate trust each year, each needing it's own bank accounts and tax return etc.

2. He needs to go to an attorney and either fine tune his will or rewrite it...using what is called a "pour over" will....where all his assets at the time of his demise...pour into a Revocable Trust, a Marital Trust or both.
His wife needs a will also. Is her name on anything? How much will get pulled into her estate if she were to go first?

3. Insurance proceeds are taxable unless they are put into an Irrevocable Life Insurance trust. If used, it is smarter for the kids to be the owners...I think others have posted about this.
But if he doesn't have a small business or some other entity to protect not sure I understand why he would buy insurance....when there are ways to get his assets down...

4. One other thing to check on is Annuities with the children as owners or his estate as the owner. There might be creative ways for the attorney to use annuities inside some of these instruments..... ex: Setting up annuties for the children...rather than gifting outright. It can grow....without creating a yearly tax situation....(until money is pulled out)....
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Old 11-07-2010, 07:00 AM   #24
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For the record, I don't normally suggest Annuities but...did use one inside the marital trust my mom created for my Dad when she passed. I came to view them as "a great wealth transfer tool" if you get one with the right features.

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Old 11-07-2010, 07:58 AM   #25
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If the kids own the policy on the deceased, why wouldn't it be part of their estate and not the deceased.
Yup, same for gifts to kids as gifts to the trust.

Of course, if the policy was given to the children then then you have to value the policy at the time of the gift for gift tax/return purposes. This is also true if the policy is given to a trust. The policy may or may not have value at the time of the gift. Of course, the premiums also given to the kids or the trust also are gifts for gift tax purposes.

IIRC there is a three year look back on gifts of life insurance policies, whether to another person or to a trust, and the policy will be part of your estate if you die in that three year period.

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Old 11-07-2010, 08:36 AM   #26
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Yup, same for gifts to kids as gifts to the trust.
IIRC there is a three year look back on gifts of life insurance policies, whether to another person or to a trust, and the policy will be part of your estate if you die in that three year period.

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Martha.......does the look back period also apply if the kids are given cash and buy new policies (vs. gifting an existing policy?)
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Old 11-07-2010, 08:44 AM   #27
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1. The Unified Tax Credit (UTC) amount is currently either 3 or 3.5 million. Your friend should use the full amount of his UTC immediately and give that much to his children. It will put those assets in the hands of his children, reduce his estate keeping those assets from growing inside his estate creating an even bigger "estate" issue for him down the road. He doesn't have to do this all at one time...but this is the way to "give" more than the $13K/person per year.
I thought the limit on "excess" gifts (over the annual 13K/pp was still 1M lifetime?
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Old 11-07-2010, 09:03 AM   #28
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Martha.......does the look back period also apply if the kids are given cash and buy new policies (vs. gifting an existing policy?)
I don't think so but I don't know all the twists and turns.

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I thought the limit on "excess" gifts (over the annual 13K/pp was still 1M lifetime?
Yup.

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Old 11-07-2010, 09:15 AM   #29
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Martha.......does the look back period also apply if the kids are given cash and buy new policies (vs. gifting an existing policy?)
There is no look-back period if the life insurance policy is owned by the ILIT from the time it is issued. If an existing policy is placed in the trust, then the 3-year look back applies.
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Old 11-07-2010, 09:23 AM   #30
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If the kids own the policy on the deceased, why wouldn't it be part of their estate and not the deceased.
Ask the government. The life insurance proceeds are considered part of the estate of the insured unless it is placed in an ILIT. For someone with $10 million in assets, better to spend $5k and have a top estate planning attorney draw up an ILIT and estate plan than to be cheap and screw things up for the kids.
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Old 11-07-2010, 09:23 AM   #31
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There is no look-back period if the life insurance policy is owned by the ILIT from the time it is issued. If an existing policy is placed in the trust, then the 3-year look back applies.
and if the policies are owned by the kids (on life of parents) from the time they are issued
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Old 11-07-2010, 09:27 AM   #32
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and if the policies are owned by the kids (on life of parents) from the time they are issued
Then it's considered part of the estate. Think about it this way - when the insured dies, money is being transferred to the children with life insurance proceeds. That money is transferred along with all other provisions of the will/trust/etc. Most people don't worry about it because they will never exceed the threshold for having to pay an estate tax, but if they were to exceed it when the life insurance is included, then it would be taxable.

To clarify some information posted earlier in this thread, life insurance proceeds are always income tax free (when premiums are paid with after-tax money), but are still taxable for estate tax purposes if the value of the estate exceeds the thresholds.
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Old 11-07-2010, 09:42 AM   #33
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RE - Life Insurance paid for by Annual Gifting to reduce Estate taxes (on average):

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Again, it's not an investment. It will not help the insured person in any way, shape, or form. It will only allow that person to share their accumulated wealth with their family, rather than 300 million wonderful Americans. If said person prefers to be generous and share it with all of America, they can simply not buy a policy and let the kids pay the tax out of the inheritance.

I'm presenting you with facts and premiums that are real and tangible. You are giving me back the same old tired line that insurance companies win and people lose. You know of anywhere else you can put in $37k per year at 70 years old and get back $3 million tax free?
You are giving me a specific case, not averages. No question that Life Insurance 'works' in specific cases that you can present, but we generally can't know that going into the 'deal'. We have to assume averages going in.

Let's take it step-by-step. To keep it simple, let's assume the look-back provision doesn't apply to this case (it would be a wash anyway I think):

A) A person with an expected Estate Tax liability gifts $13K per year each to two individuals. One individual uses the $13K to buy a Life Insurance policy on the person doing the gifting. The other invests it in something reasonable for long term growth.

B) For the "no-ins" person, that $13K and future gains are now exempt from all Estate Taxes. Done deal. Future realized gains would be subject to income taxes. He has a pile of money that grows each year.

C) For the "with-ins" person, they give up the $13K to the ins company each year.

So some date in the future the gift-giver dies. It seems pretty simple, either the insurance policy pays out more than the accumulated value of the premiums or it doesn't. Both piles of money escaped the Estate Tax.

If I put my money into an insurance policy with the hopes that the pay off will be greater than if I invested the money on my own, that sure sounds like a "investment decision" to me. What else is it?

And it seems reasonable that the insurance company can't give away more than they take in on average and stay in business. And there is nothing wrong with that, I'm not 'demonizing' insurance companies at all. I have some insurance policies and I expect that on average I will pay more than I receive. But I am willing to pay to mitigate risk in those cases. It's a fair deal, and one I regularly turn own when I feel I can self-insure.


I'm going to repeat the above quote to address it separately:

Quote:
If said person prefers to be generous and share it with all of America, they can simply not buy a policy and let the kids pay the tax out of the inheritance.
This is where the insurance reps are tricky (recall your "worth their salt" comment). It's not either/or, yet that is how you present it here. It is not "buy the insurance or do nothing, so the insurance is better". To be apples-apples, you have to assume gifting in each case, and then the applicable question becomes "is applying the gifting to insurance better than letting the gifting accumulate in an account?".

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Old 11-07-2010, 09:47 AM   #34
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and if the policies are owned by the kids (on life of parents) from the time they are issued
Quote:
Originally Posted by dgoldenz View Post
Then it's considered part of the estate.
I'm assuming (maybe incorrectly) that in the case kaneohe describes, that the 'kids' are the named beneficiaries on the policy and that the 'kids' paid the premiums from day one. As I understand it, the insurance pay out at death of the insured (the gift-giver) would NOT be part of the gift-giver's estate, but part of the kid's estate.

If the gift-giver is the beneficiary, then yes, the pay out would then become part of the gift-givers estate. Defeats the whole intent.

Am I wrong?

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Old 11-07-2010, 09:50 AM   #35
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Then it's considered part of the estate. Think about it this way - when the insured dies, money is being transferred to the children with life insurance proceeds. That money is transferred along with all other provisions of the will/trust/etc. Most people don't worry about it because they will never exceed the threshold for having to pay an estate tax, but if they were to exceed it when the life insurance is included, then it would be taxable.

To clarify some information posted earlier in this thread, life insurance proceeds are always income tax free (when premiums are paid with after-tax money), but are still taxable for estate tax purposes if the value of the estate exceeds the thresholds.
This doesn't pass my common sense test...... But, of course, few tax laws pass my common sense test.

If mom and dad gift cash to a child and the child chooses to buy life insurance policies on mom and dad with that money wouldn't the situation be that gift tax is due on the cash gift but that there would be no estate tax on the proceeds of the LI policies?

Also, isn't it true that LI policies on elderly or terminally ill people cost about as much as the death value of the policy? That is, running out and buying a one million bux LI policy on your cancer ridden, 95 year old parent is possible, but you'll pay about that much to get it?

Thanks.
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Old 11-07-2010, 09:52 AM   #36
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RE - Life Insurance paid for by Annual Gifting to reduce Estate taxes (on average):

You are giving me a specific case, not averages. No question that Life Insurance 'works' in specific cases that you can present, but we generally can't know that going into the 'deal'. We have to assume averages going in.

Let's take it step-by-step. To keep it simple, let's assume the look-back provision doesn't apply to this case (it would be a wash anyway I think):

A) A person with an expected Estate Tax liability gifts $13K per year each to two individuals. One individual uses the $13K to buy a Life Insurance policy on the person doing the gifting. The other invests it in something reasonable for long term growth.

B) For the "no-ins" person, that $13K and future gains are now exempt from all Estate Taxes. Done deal. Future realized gains would be subject to income taxes. He has a pile of money that grows each year.

C) For the "with-ins" person, they give up the $13K to the ins company each year.

So some date in the future the gift-giver dies. It seems pretty simple, either the insurance policy pays out more than the accumulated value of the premiums or it doesn't. Both piles of money escaped the Estate Tax.

If I put my money into an insurance policy with the hopes that the pay off will be greater than if I invested the money on my own, that sure sounds like a "investment decision" to me. What else is it?

And it seems reasonable that the insurance company can't give away more than they take in on average and stay in business. And there is nothing wrong with that, I'm not 'demonizing' insurance companies at all. I have some insurance policies and I expect that on average I will pay more than I receive. But I am willing to pay to mitigate risk in those cases. It's a fair deal, and one I regularly turn own when I feel I can self-insure.


I'm going to repeat the above quote to address it separately:



This is where the insurance reps are tricky (recall your "worth their salt" comment). It's not either/or, yet that is how you present it here. It is not "buy the insurance or do nothing, so the insurance is better". To be apples-apples, you have to assume gifting in each case, and then the applicable question becomes "is applying the gifting to insurance better than letting the gifting accumulate in an account?".

-ERD50
You are thinking in a way too analytical sense and not a practical sense.

#1 - I am giving you numbers from one case because if I gave it to you from every case would take all day. Call an insurance company and ask what a second-to-die UL policy would cost for $5 million for a 40, 50, 60, and 70 year old couple at standard rates. Take any of those rates and tell me how many years it would take to pay $5 million in premiums. The $5 million is tax free (if in the ILIT). The investment gains on investing $13k each year are taxable. On average, the premium cost for a 40 year old couple will be around 0.5 cents on the dollar, a 50 year old couple around 0.7 cents on the dollar, a 60 year old couple around 1 cent on the dollar, and a 70 year old couple around 1.5 cents on the dollar. How many cents do you need to get to 100? Like I said, they probably aren't going to live to age 160 or 200.

#2 - Most people that well off financially either have children or grandchildren that they want to have their assets when they die, but NOT while they are alive. If you are 40 years old with two 20 year old kids, are you going to gift them $13k per year each? Probably not, because they'll just go out and spend/party with it. That's what a trust is for. A trust gives the insured control on how assets are distributed, to whom, and when, instead of leaving that up to the beneficiaries.

#3 - What happens if you don't buy the insurance, gift them the money, then you kick the bucket two years later? Now they're screwed.
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Old 11-07-2010, 09:55 AM   #37
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I'm assuming (maybe incorrectly) that in the case kaneohe describes, that the 'kids' are the named beneficiaries on the policy and that the 'kids' paid the premiums from day one. As I understand it, the insurance pay out at death of the insured (the gift-giver) would NOT be part of the gift-giver's estate, but part of the kid's estate.

If the gift-giver is the beneficiary, then yes, the pay out would then become part of the gift-givers estate. Defeats the whole intent.

Am I wrong?

-ERD50
If the kids could just be the owner of the policy and keep it out of the estate, there would be little use for an ILIT aside from structuring distribution, which can be done with a revocable trust anyway.

Also, would you want your kids owning a $10 million policy on your life? Probably not. My guess is that you would prefer to create a trust that owns the policy instead.

What happens when one of the kids gets divorced and the ex-wife wants part of the life insurance money because her ex-husband owns part of a $10 million policy?

What happens when one of your kids is named in a multi-million dollar lawsuit?
If the money is in their pocket, the person suing them can go after it. If the money is held in an ILIT, they can't.
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Old 11-07-2010, 10:17 AM   #38
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#1 - I am giving you numbers from one case because if I gave it to you from every case would take all day. Call an insurance company and ask what a second-to-die UL policy would cost for $5 million for a 40, 50, 60, and 70 year old couple at standard rates. Take any of those rates and tell me how many years it would take to pay $5 million in premiums. The $5 million is tax free (if in the ILIT). The investment gains on investing $13k each year are taxable. On average, the premium cost for a 40 year old couple will be around 0.5 cents on the dollar, a 50 year old couple around 0.7 cents on the dollar, a 60 year old couple around 1 cent on the dollar, and a 70 year old couple around 1.5 cents on the dollar. How many cents do you need to get to 100? Like I said, they probably aren't going to live to age 160 or 200.
Again, this makes no sense. Are you saying that life insurance companies set themselves up for huge losses (on average) by selling policies where the insured would have to live to "160 or 200" in order for premiums to equal the death benefit?

DW and I are 63. You say we could buy a one million bux policy for a mere $10k/yr premium. What's the catch? It sounds too good to be true.
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Old 11-07-2010, 10:27 AM   #39
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Again, this makes no sense. Are you saying that LI insurance companies set themselves up for huge losses (on average) by selling policies where the insured would have to live to "160 or 200" in order for premiums to equal the death benefit?

DW and I are 63. You say we could buy a one million bux policy for a mere $10k/yr premium. What's the catch? It sounds too good to be true.
I'm not an actuary, so I don't know how they price the policies. These would be the costs for a $1,000,000 policy guaranteed for life, solved for minimum cash value and maximum death benefit, with West Coast Life. I accidentally ran them with maximum cash value earlier, so if you saw those premiums, they were wrong.

73 year old couple - $17,739 per year
63 year old couple - $10,003 per year
53 year old couple - $6,103 per year
43 year old couple - $3,875 per year

The premiums can also be structured to terminate at a specific age, while the death benefit stays guaranteed forever (ex: pay to age 100, guarantee benefit forever, or pay to age 65, guarantee benefit forever, etc)
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Old 11-07-2010, 10:35 AM   #40
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You are thinking in a way too analytical sense and not a practical sense.
Granted, there can be other, entirely valid factors/concerns outside a straight analysis of the numbers - just like make/buy, rent/own, etc. But, let's deal with those separately, and first determine the numbers. After that, an individual can look at whether those other considerations (which are subjective and will vary for each situation) outweigh the numbers for their case. Just like I do when I buy any insurance product.

Throwing them together clouds the issue. When I see an issue being clouded, I've learned there is usually a reason (agenda) for it.

Quote:
#1 - I am giving you numbers from one case because if I gave it to you from every case would take all day....
Well, you started with the number examples, so I do feel it is in your court to defend them. I don't need numerous examples, lets just take one. Can you provide numbers and sources for:

65 YO male, average health.

Cost for a $1M policy from a highly rated insurer.

Actuary numbers for Life Expectancy for said 65 YO male, average health.

That should be easy for someone with your experience and resources.

Oh, and those practical matters can work the other way also. What if the beneficiary has a legitimate and real need for the money now rather than some uncertain date of death of the insured? Take a loan out against the policy - gets complicated, no?

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