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Financial Planning > Trusts and Estates > Estate Planning

A loser of an estate planning legacy

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A little reminder of the need for insurance reviews in client meetings. Low interest rate environs aren’t good for boomers using life insurance to cover the death tax; the strategy is blowing up some estate plans. And it’s gotten through to the consumer press.

“An insurance plan issued years ago, when interest rates were higher, may no longer be earning the investment returns it needs to pay premiums as drafted,” writes Arden Dale in Tuesday’s Wall Street Journal. That shortfall leaves the owner on the hook for unexpected costs.

“If the worst happens and a policy collapses, its demise can even result in a big tax bill. Estate planners are noticing the problem. (It is hardly limited to their arena. A policy can lapse no matter what it is used for.) Some expect it to get worse.”

Advice to those using life insurance in an estate plan, according to Dale? Have an attorney check on the health of the plan. And don’t be surprised if that person turns the matter over to an independent insurance expert.

“Policies are complicated enough that an estate planner or attorney may not feel comfortable vetting them.”

Fine, but if you partner with an estate planning attorney who isn’t comfortable vetting your clients’ policies, it’s probably time to find a new estate planning attorney.


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