Sunday, February 1, 2009
WHY IS LIFE INSURANCE A VERY USEFUL FINANCIAL INSTRUMENT IN ESTATE PLANNING?
After receiving insurance proceeds, do beneficiaries have to pay tax?
In general, after a beneficiary receives life insurance proceeds, he doesn't have to pay tax as the money is not a profit or income. It is a compensation. This rule also applies to personal accident insurance proceeds.
Life insurance is a very useful financial instrument in Estate Planning because it is a very liquid asset besides the benefits I have explained previously in my post titled IS IT TRUE THAT RICH PEOPLE DON'T NEED INSURANCE PROTECTION AND FINANCIAL PLANNING? (January 13, 2009). Once an insured dies, the insurance company will usually pay the life insurance proceeds to his beneficiaries in less than a week provided that he has made nominations and his policy is immediately submitted by his family together with related documents like death certificate to the insurance company. The high liquidity of life insurance is very important to ensure that his family daily life will not be affected significantly after his demise. Besides life insurance, a person who has bought personal accident will be compensated immediately after his death due to an accident. In other words, the liquidity of personal accident is also very high.
Life insurance and personal accident are very important especially when we are no longer around because our wealth can't be distributed immediately to our loved ones even though we have a will like what I have explained previously in my post titled FINANCIAL PLANNING SEMINAR (THIRD DAY). (January 21, 2009). Once our wealth becomes an estate, our loved ones have to wait for at least six months before they can get the money. Within the period, they can still live comfortably if we have bought life insurance. For details about the importance of personal accident, please read my post titled WHY IS A PERSONAL ACCIDENT (PA) PLAN VERY IMPORTANT IN OUR LIFE? (January 9, 2009).
It is hard to know how much assets and liabilities we have. We will usually know how wealthy we are after we are no longer around or bankrupt. There was a real case where an old woman got nothing from her husband's will because his assets were not enough to settle his liabilities. In other words, a will just makes sure that the process of transferring a wealth from one person to the other people is smoothly done after all debts are settled. Furthermore, he didn't buy life insurance. As a result, the old woman suffered from two pains, financial (no money to live comfortably) and mental or emotional (loss of her spouse) due to her irresponsible husband. We may say that they had no money to buy insurance. In fact, they lived in a bungalow before his demise. But, the bungalow was already sold to settle his liabilities.