Usually when you hear about life insurance, the focus is on the financial security it can provide for you and your family. But whole life insurance can also be a useful tool if you’ve got a favorite cause you want to support in a significant way — whether it’s helping research a medical cure, giving back to your alma mater or any other issue that’s important to you. Making whole life insurance part of your overall giving strategy may provide benefits to your family and the charity alike. Here are four ways it may help achieve your goals.
Make the Charity Your Beneficiary
The most straightforward way to support a charity with whole life insurance is to make it a beneficiary of the policy. This makes it possible to donate a larger gift than you might otherwise be able to give all at once. For example, for about $110 a month, a healthy 40-year-old female might be able to purchase a policy with a $100,000 death benefit. That is probably a lot more than she’d normally be able to donate to her favorite charity, assuming she isn’t hiding hundreds of thousands of dollars in her mattress.
What’s great about this approach is the flexibility it provides. You can opt to have the entire policy death benefit paid to the charity or split it with other beneficiaries. You can also name more than one charity as a beneficiary. It’s totally up to you.
With this method, nothing is irreversible. If your circumstances change, or you wish to support other charities, you can simply change the beneficiaries or the proportion of the benefit they each should receive. As long as you are alive, you retain access to all of the policy’s features and benefits.
Remember, the charity doesn’t get your gift until you die and you receive no income tax deduction. Some might see this as a drawback. However, some prefer to make their gift after death as a legacy of their life. Others appreciate the anonymity of gifting life insurance proceeds because they are not part of the probate process that becomes public record.
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