Giving Life Insurance
Frequently Asked Questions:
There are many reasons to consider using a life insurance policy for the purpose of giving to your favorite charity. Among these is the fact that it ultimately provides to the charity in a much larger gift than would be possible with the other assets like cash, stocks bonds, or even real estate. In addition to the multiplication of the bequest to the charity, the method for completing the transaction is relatively simple, confidential and extremely effective. We've compiled a list of some of the questions others have had and you might have regarding this most effective giving method:
Q. Why should I consider a charitable gift of life insurance?
A. Basically the gift of life insurance to a charitable organization permits a person the opportunity to give a maximum life insurance death benefit for a relatively small amount of charitable contribution. This can accomplish the charitable goals of the donor in an efficient, timely manner upon the death of the insured person outside the probate process and therefore not a matter of public record.
Q. Are there any other advantages?
A. Yes. Generally as long as the new life insurance policy is owned by the charity, the premiums for the policy are deductible from federal income taxes as charitable gifts. Since the charity is designed as the beneficiary, you'll have the benefit of knowing that upon the insured's death the life insurance death benefit will be paid directly to the charity you have chosen.
Q. Is a gift of life insurance to a charity something that everyone should consider?
A. No. Only people whose individual life insurance needs have already been met for things such as income replacement, mortgage protection, education, funding cash needs, final expenses, estate and retirement planning, and business succession for example should consider gifting a life insurance policy to a charity. The first thing to consider must always be the protection of your family's interests.
Q. How do I determine if giving a life insurance policy to charity is right for me?
A. Again, only after serious and thoughtful consideration of your family's needs should this be contemplated. In consultation with your family, a trusted financial adviser and your accountant and/or lawyer, you may determine if this is a suitable option for you. Your Knights of Columbus insurance agent has the knowledge and analytical tools to help you determine if your other needs are covered. His consultation is free. He can also provide the products you may need to accomplish your goals.
Q. What are the benefits to the donor?
A. For the donor the benefits include:
- Convenience - It's a simple process to designate a beneficiary or transfer the ownership rights under a new or existing policy
- Tax savings - Significant income estate and gift tax savings may be available by effectively planning your gift using life insurance privacy. Unlike a bequest in your will, a life insurance certificate gift is not a matter of public record.
- Flexibility - You can chose whether to name a charitable interest as a beneficiary on either a new or existing policy
Q. What are the benefits to the charity?
A. The benefits to the recipient include:
- Size of the gift - With a gift of life insurance your favorite charitable interest may receive a larger contribution than would be possible if you gave other assets
- Avoiding probate - Your life insurance gift can be put to work faster because the charitable recipient receives the certificate proceeds immediately without having to wait for the estate to be settled
- The full amount - Since life insurance gifts are generally not subject to estate taxes or probate costs your charitable beneficiary receives all the proceeds you designate
Q. Can you summarize?
A. The charitable gift of life insurance is an effective way of planning a gift to the charity of your choice. The premiums may be tax-deductible while the donor lives and the death benefit that passes to the charity is the life insurance death benefit. This benefit is usually a much greater amount than most people could consider gifting using other assets you may also consider giving an existing policy to a charity. This is a simple process of changing the beneficiary and assigning ownership of the policy to the charity giving life insurance.