Florida residents know better than anyone that having life insurance is essential to planning for one’s future and provides assurance for family members after one’s death. Beneficiaries receive a life insurance death benefit, which is tax-free income used to cover the costs of funeral expenses, debt, and any other financial obligations. However, many people do not realize that for tax purposes, the proceeds from a South Florida life insurance policy becomes part of the decedent’s gross estate if the policy is owned by the deceased during the last 3 years of his or her life. Currently, for estates valued over $5 million, anything in excess will be taxed at a rate of 35 percent. Accordingly, many people are not aware that a life insurance policy is subject to this Federal Estate Tax.
Fortunately, correct South Florida estate planning can save family members hundreds of thousands of dollars. A highly qualified and well-experienced attorney can strategically structure an estate in order to shield loved ones from the bullets of heavy taxation.
Establishing an Irrevocable Life Insurance Trust (ILIT) removes life insurance from the estate and transfers the life insurance benefits into this specific type of trust. If done properly, the result will be less taxation and increased asset protection for beneficiaries. This trust is considered a separate South Florida legal entity that’s outside a person’s estate and no longer within his or her control. Therefore, the assets held in the trust are insulated from the grip of the IRS.
A spouse, child, or other appropriate party may be designated as the beneficiary of the trust and an appointed trustee will be able to carry out detailed instructions regarding management of the trust in accordance with the decedent’s wishes. This includes how the life insurance payout should be distributed, when payments, loans, or investments should be made, and when to terminate the trust.
The ILIT is a means of providing extra liquidity to one’s estate or business by reducing estate tax by 35 percent of the life insurance benefit total. There are also gifting strategies to capitalize on. So, with an ILIT, an estate planning attorney can make sure a client receives the protection of a trust combined with the liquidity of life insurance benefits.
For more information on successful Florida estate planning and probate techniques, please contact the South Florida law firm of Wild Felice & Pardo, P.A. at 954-944-2855 or via email at email@example.com to schedule your free consultation.
It’s a Wild world. Are you protected?