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Life Insurance and Estate Planning
Life insurance can be useful in planning your estate. There are no inheritance taxes in Canada, but when you die your estate executor must file a final tax return. Normally at this time, all accrued gains on assets like stocks and real estate, and the proceeds of all registered plans (RSPs, RRIFs, LIFs, and certain pensions) become taxable all at once. On large estates the result could be a tax bill close to half the total value of the estate.

Various strategies can be used to reduce the impact of this inevitable tax bill, including life insurance. For example, say you own a cottage and want to leave it to your children. Accrued gains on the property may give rise to such a large tax bill that they are forced to sell it. Tax-free life insurance proceeds could be used to cover the taxes instead, so your children can keep the cottage.

Or, say you want to divide your estate equally between three children, but it consists of a $200,000 house and a $200,000 RRSP. Rather than selling the house to accommodate a three-way split, life insurance can be used to pay all taxes and provide another $200,000 bequest. Business assets can also be preserved using life insurance.

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