Insurance trust

Insurance Trust

An irrevocable trust set up by a policyholder in which he/she places his/her life insurance policy. This removes the policy from the policyholder's estate, shielding it from estate taxes. Importantly, the insurance trust must be set up at least three years prior to the death of the policyholder in order to exclude it from the estate. One might set up an insurance trust in order to set aside cash to pay estate taxes otherwise owed, or to provide for the policy's beneficiaries without concern for the tax. Normally, one sets up an insurance trust when one expects to have an estate worth more than the maximum exclusion figure. It is also called an irrevocable life insurance trust.

Insurance trust.

You set up an insurance trust to own a life insurance policy on your life. When you die, the face value of the policy is paid to the trust.

That keeps the insurance payment out of your estate, while making money available to the beneficiary of the trust to pay any estate tax that may be due, or to use for any other purpose.

If you're married, you may set up an insurance trust to buy a second-to-die policy, which pays the face value of the policy at the death of the second spouse. That allows the first to die to leave all assets to the other, postponing potential estate tax until the survivor dies. At that point, the insurance benefit is available to pay any tax that might be due.

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