Recent studies have found that the opposite is true. Research by the AARP found that more than 80 percent of Baby Boomers have not received an inheritance. Many Baby Boomers do not even expect to receive a significant inheritance. This is due in part to the cost of long-term care, longevity of life, reverse mortgages and splitting the inheritance among children, grandchildren, charities and alma maters.
As advisors it is our responsibility to assist our clients, whether Boomers or their parents, to prepare them for the wealth transfer process and educate them on techniques to maximize the amount of money they can pass on to the “waiting” generation. Life insurance is one way to put your client’s mind at ease in this area.
Seniors are often worried or uneducated about the process of taking their life’s worth and assuring it will be effortlessly transferred from one generation to the next. As advisors we need to remember, regardless of the size of our client’s estate, there are legal, accounting and emotional controversies that arise during the wealth transfer process.
Life insurance allows a client to transfer money tax-free and actually create money where none existed before. When life insurance is received by the beneficiary, properly structured it can be received tax-free, often in a couple of weeks. The money is not held up in probate and it does not have the associated fees of real estate brokers, appraisers, lawyers, accountants and trust officers.
Not only will the death benefit be guaranteed, but life insurance can actually increase the amount passed on to a recipient. For example, some seniors take minimum distributions from their IRA holding the balance for their beneficiary. Many are not aware that the IRA may be subject to an estate tax and certainly the income tax, often resulting in dramatic loss of principal for loved ones. A better alternative might be to withdraw the account, pay the income tax and use the balance to purchase a life insurance policy owned by the beneficiary or an irrevocable trust. Usually for seniors in good health the result is an inheritance — free of taxes — far in excess of the IRA account.
For seniors concerned with the rising price of health care and having money available if an illness occurs in their lifetime, life insurance will allow them to put money away for their families while also creating a safety net for occasions such as these. If your client comes into unforeseen circumstances, they can withdraw cash from the policy or surrender it for its full market value at any time.
Life insurance can create peace, harmony and balance in the wealth transfer process. Your clients can rest easy knowing that their family will not go through emotional trials and incur additional costs after they are gone. Baby Boomers may not be receiving the financial windfall they were expecting from their parents, but with life insurance, they can ensure their children will not be financially burdened and family legacies will live on.