Even if President-elect Donald Trump is proposing the elimination of the estate tax, reasons still remain for the rich and super-rich to purchase life insurance. One of the leading authorities in the field of life insurance, Frank Seneco, president of Seneco & Associates, shares some of the reasons the exceptionally wealthy will continue to obtain life insurance:
Estate equalization. When the rich and super-rich want to give equally to their children where illiquid assets are involved, such as businesses, life insurance is a viable way to provide financial fairness.
Paying for corporate benefits. Because life insurance has specific tax advantages, it has been and will continue to be a highly effective way for companies – including those owned by the extremely affluent – to pay for certain corporate benefits to owners and key employees.
Protecting business owners. Ultra-wealthy business owners will continue to rely on life insurance for key person policies and funding buy/sell agreements.
Obtaining loans. For a percentage of the ultra-wealthy, life insurance is part of the requirements for getting significant loans.
Replacing assets donated to charity. Many philanthropically motivated wealthy individuals use life insurance going to their loved ones to replace the monetary value of their charitable gifts.
The rich and super-rich will continue to purchase life insurance for other reasons. However, without an estate tax all indications are that they will unwind or restructure the life insurance they currently have to pay the tax and will NOT be purchasing life insurance for this purpose. “We are already seeing strong interest among segments of the ultra-wealthy population to convert traditional life insurance policies into private placement life insurance policies,” says Peter Sasaki, managing member of CGS Financial Solutions, a leading private placement life insurance administrative platform. “For many of them this transition is a very good option, and each case needs to be examined on its own merits.”
It is also likely that – in a dynamically changing financial services environment – tax and life insurance specialists will devise new ways for the rich and super-rich to benefit from life insurance. Still, in a future without an estate tax, the rich and super-rich will be purchasing meaningfully less life insurance.
Last posted by Russ Alan Prince at forbes.com