Last month I shared four valuable benefits of life insurance. Here are four more reasons to own cash-value life insurance:

1. Life insurance is discounted estate tax insurance. Federal estate tax returns on Jan. 1, 2011, because of sunset provisions in previous legislation. The exclusion returns to $1 million, and the maximum rate increases to 55 percent. Americans who were not subject to estate tax now could be. Do you want to pay these taxes with whole dollars or would you prefer a discount instead, using pennies to buy dollars? The answer is obvious.

2. Life insurance is a fully funded contractual will. Even when wills work, they proceed through probate, incurring costs and opening your affairs to the scrutiny of the public. When wills don’t work, your desires can be contested, at great cost, and can even be declared invalid.

Life insurance “wills” have none of these problems and even fully fund your estate for the determined value at the precise time it is needed. Think about this: People surrender other assets and put proceeds into life insurance, which is a fully funded contractual will. Few, if any, surrender life insurance to invest in stocks, bonds or real estate.

3. Life insurance pays what someone else would have to pay. Someone always pays for life insurance. The head of the family, if insurable, pays for life insurance with a few dollars from their income. If they do not, and they die too soon, then someone else inevitably ends up paying costs that would have been covered by LI.

The cost of life insurance isn’t the problem. It is actually inexpensive and eventually profitable for our clients. Real costs are food, clothing and shelter, not to mention the loss of a parent’s time with the family. The real cost is not knowing how to make ends meet and needing to continue to work instead of retiring. These issues exact a heavy cost. Life insurance policies are inexpensive by comparison.

Ask your clients, “Do you want to make a big mistake or a little mistake?” The premium is the little mistake. Putting your family or business in jeopardy by dying without life insurance is the big mistake.

4. Life insurance is transferred risk. Many fathers have daughters who are married to inadequately insured husbands. Who does the risk transfer to if the husband dies prematurely? Answer: The father (and loving grandfather). One solution: Insure the son-in-law. Have the cash value belong to the grandfather and the death benefit belong to the daughter.