Q&A; Why is a life insurance policy written into trust?
Author: Andy Bedford » Publish Date: 25 February 2010
Question; I have been advised to place my life insurance policy into a trust; why is this?
There are several reasons why some life insurance or assurance policies might be placed into a trust. Generally, they are to do with avoiding tax liabilities or ensuring that the proceeds of a policy will reach the intended recipient.
About two-thirds of people in the UK do not have a valid will and testament and die intestate, which is the term for an estate which does not have a valid will to determine where and how the estate proceeds will be divided up (sometimes there is a will in place which is no longer accurate and can be invalid for this reason too).
In this case, complex rules govern who receives the estate (the laws of intestacy), which could leave the proceeds of a life insurance policy to unintended recipients.
A good example is an unmarried couple who has arranged a life policy on the life of a breadwinner to repay the mortgage in the event of death. In this case, if there were no valid will in place, the proceeds would likely be passed on to the deceased person’s family; rather than the surviving partner, which could include children from a previous marriage, or the deceased person’s parents, for example.
That scenario could realistically lead to someone losing their family home.
In another scenario, a life policy intended to pay out to a couple’s children on the second death; to cover inheritance tax liabilities; would also become part of their estate and be liable to inheritance tax itself. Something placing the policy in trust could avoid.
The rules around the taxation of trusts change regularly, and mortgage advisors will recommend a regular review of your circumstances. A policy written into a trust may one day be better off outside of it, so it is vital to check regularly that existing provisions are still the most tax-efficient and prudent arrangements.
If you have a life insurance policy you think may need to be placed into a trust or to speak further to an advisor, call 0345 4594490 for independent advice.