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LIFE INSURANCE ISSUES TO CONSIDER

These are some of the questions to ask yourself and factors to consider in determining whether life insurance has a role to play in your estate planning:

  • Do you have a spouse or any dependent children?
  • Do you have an elderly parent or any other relatives who are dependent on you for support, or who are likely to become financially dependent on you in the future?
  • Would their “financial health” and lifestyle be affected in the event of your sudden death?
  • After your death, will your spouse be able to generate sufficient income to maintain the lifestyle to which both of you have become accustomed? If necessary, would your spouse be able to take on full- or part-time work in order to supplement any pension income and investment income? How do you feel about your spouse being forced to work after you are gone, in order to supplement his or her income?
  • If you have children, will there be enough money to enable them to attend college or university, if you are no longer around to provide financial support?
  • What investments do you own and how much investment income can be generated each year to support your family in the event of your death?
  • Do you own any “non-essential” assets, such as a vacation property, that could be sold in the event of your death, so that the sale proceeds could be invested to generate additional income for your spouse and family? How do you feel about your spouse or children being forced to sell such assets in order to raise cash?
  • Will any income taxes become payable in the event of your death under the capital gains deemed disposition rule? If so, will there be enough liquidity in your estate to cover such taxes?
  • Do you still have a mortgage on your house or any other debts that you would not want your family to be burdened with after your death?
  • Do you own a family business which you want to pass down to one or more of your children? Your estate might be faced with a large taxable capital gain and a significant income tax liability if your shares of the company have appreciated in value.
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