Is there a non-profit organization near and dear to your heart that you would like to assist financially? Maybe it’s a religious organization, a pet shelter, or a children’s home. You aren’t alone. It turns out that we are a very charitable people with more than 95% of American households giving an average of just under $3,000 a year to charity. But, do you ever wish that you could do more? There is a way to give more financial support to your favorite charity.
A life insurance policy can provide the opportunity to make a much larger gift to charity than you might otherwise be able to afford. Although the cost to you (your premiums) is relatively small, the amount the charity will receive (the death benefit) can be quite substantial. Yes, that charity may have to wait for the donation, but as long as you continue paying the premiums, the charity is guaranteed to receive the proceeds when you die. Plus, this method may provide some unexpected advantages.
Here are some unique advantages to the gift of a life insurance policy:
- Because life insurance is a contract that passes outside the will, it cannot be contested in probate proceedings.
- The payment of a life insurance policy death benefit is private—not a matter of public record.
- Although payment of the life insurance death benefit is deferred, the charity may be able to use the cash value immediately.
- The charity does not pay income or estate tax on the benefit.
- There are no probate delays.
- Assets are preserved for the donor's family.
- Since life insurance proceeds paid to a charity are not subject to income and estate taxes, probate costs, and other expenses, the charity can count on receiving 100 percent of your gift.
How to gift a life insurance policy:
- You can make a charity the beneficiary of an existing policy. Maybe you took out the policy when you had children living at home; now all those children are grown and independent. They don’t need your financial support. If you name the charity as the beneficiary of the policy, they will receive the policy’s death benefit when you die. Although there are no current tax benefits with this approach, the value of the policy will be removed from your estate for federal estate tax purposes. Plus, if the policy is a form of cash value life insurance, you still have access to the cash value of the policy during your lifetime.
- You can make a charity the owner and beneficiary of an existing policy. With this approach, you transfer full ownership of the policy to the charity. You would make annual tax-deductible gifts to the charity in an amount equal to the premium, and the charity would pay the premium to the insurance company. Upon your death, the charity will receive the policy’s death benefit. This approach also removes the value of the policy from your estate for federal estate tax purposes and provides you with current federal income tax deduction. To do this, you must assign all rights in the policy to the charity. By doing this, you give up all control of the life insurance policy forever. This strategy provides the full tax advantages of charitable giving because the transfer of ownership is irrevocable.
- You can have a charity purchase a new life insurance policy on your life. With this approach you must arrange to pay the premiums through gifts to the charity, but it also provides federal income tax deductions and the policy proceeds aren’t included in your estate for federal estate tax purposes.
- You can use a life insurance policy in conjunction with a charitable remainder trust. This approach is pretty complex and requires an attorney to set it up. However, it provides greater tax advantages than other, simpler methods.
Learn More About Gifting a Life Insurance Policy
To find out more about giving the gift of a life insurance policy to your favorite charity, contact American Insuring Group at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848.