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Life insurance as an estate planning tool for boomers

Baby boomers in Florida are part of what's considered the wealthiest generation in history. This honor was earned, in large part, because of increased diligence with savings and investments. However, it's estimated that more than 40 percent of individuals in this age group don't have an estate plan. One of the often-overlooked options for this purpose is life insurance. It can be an especially appealing choice for baby boomers with significant assets or sizable estates.

One of the benefits of using life insurance for estate planning purposes is having easier access to cash (liquidity) that may be needed to cover immediate expenses. These types of needs typically include end-of-life medical costs and funeral expenses, probating/administering fees and estate taxes, which often have to be paid in cash. Larger and more complex estates also tend to have considerable probate expenses that life insurance benefits may help cover.

In some instances, life insurance cash can also be used to provide equal inheritance to heirs who would otherwise be left out if an estate includes assets that are difficult to divide equally, such as real estate holdings. With businesses, heirs may benefit from the cash a life insurance policy can provide to keep operations going during ownership or management changes. It is also important to note that life insurance death benefits are typically not subject to income tax.

While life insurance is particularly well-suited for baby boomers in Florida with large estates, a lawyer may be able to find beneficial ways to fit life insurance into estate plans involving less substantial assets. Regardless of estate-related preferences, it's advisable for boomers -- or anyone else looking to be proactive with estate planning -- to seek input from an attorney to ensure that the necessary documents are correctly drafted.

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