It’s simple, always have your Life Insurance policy “Written in Trust”. This may sound technical but it is easy to understand and it’s so easy to organise.
“Written in Trust” ensures that in the event of a claim, the policy will pay directly to the beneficiaries you name on the policy when you first take it out. If you do not do this, the policy will payout to your legal estate and this inevitably means that the money stays in your solicitor’s hands for some time.
Yes, that implies legal delays and, of course, your solicitor takes a small cut!
Then, if the value of your taxable estate exceeds $275,000, and remember your home can easily account for the lion's share of the $275,000 limit without much difficulty, your estate will have to pay Inheritance Tax. This represents 40% of the estate’s taxable value in excess of $275,000. So, if your estate has to pay Inheritance Tax and the proceeds of your life policy go to your estate, the taxman gets his hands on 40% of your life policy!
But it’s so easy to avoid all these problems.
Simply get your policy “Written in Trust”. Then the life insurance company pays out immediately, directly, and totally tax-free, to the persons you have named on your policy. All you have to do is tell the online brokerage organising your policy that you want your policy “Written in Trust” and they will automatically sort it out for you.
This advice remains sound even if the policy is designed to pay off your mortgage. Rather than your estate using the insurance payout to pay off your mortgage, the policy can be written in trust and paid to your partner and then he or she can use that money to pay of the mortgage. The benefit? Well if your taxable estate exceeds the IHT threshold the mortgage is effectively paid off tax-free.
The extra good news is that all the brokers we’ve met will arrange for your policy to be “Written in Trust” as a free of charge service. So it’s a win win situation and there aren’t many of those around these days!