With interest rates at record lows, trust-owned life insurance (TOLI) should be reviewed regularly to determine the risk of lapse. However, many trusts are administered by family members or others who lack the expertise to conduct policy reviews. Insurance agents have an opportunity to become a valuable member of the estate planning team by offering to review TOLI universal life policies and making recommendations for policies on the verge of lapse.
As the cornerstone of an estate plan, TOLI enables the trust to provide a cash inheritance to survivors, to cover estate taxes, liquidate debit, or create a legacy through charitable gifts. But because of its long-term investment horizon to maturity, a trust-owned life insurance policy is often overlooked by those monitoring or managing the overall trust.
According to an analysis of life settlements conducted several years ago, approximately 40 percent of life insurance policies sold in the secondary market involved trust-owned life insurance. However, given the recent developments explained above, it is likely the percentage of TOLI policies sold in the secondary market will increase substantially in the future.