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Life Insurance for Estate Planning

Life insurance can play a significant role in your estate plan as it solves many potential objectives. In general, life insurance serves one of two purposes: to create an estate for your heirs or to preserve your existing estate. Generally, life insurance premiums are not tax-deductible. Still, the benefit paid to the estate (probate may apply) or a beneficiary (probate would not apply) is also not subject to income tax.




Some common reasons you may wish to use life insurance include:

  • To provide liquidity in an estate to pay off liabilities such as taxes or mortgages. Life insurance will ensure that non-liquid assets, such as a cottage or business, do not have to be sold but can be left to your beneficiaries.

  • Establish a fund to provide income for an individual you wish to support.

  • to equalize an estate for fair distribution to heirs, inter-generational transfer of wealth with less or no tax implications

  • to provide a charitable gift & legacy planning to eliminate or reduce taxes


Term life insurance can fund a short-term estate need, such as paying off an outstanding mortgage or protecting the estate against an immediate shortfall; universal or whole life insurance is the preferred option when the insurance is for estate purposes. In some cases, a combination of both provides the best solution.


The amount and type of coverage you require will depend on your estate objectives and current financial status. As you age, you may find that the coverage level you need declines or perhaps changes from short-term to permanent coverage. Determining exactly how much and what type of insurance is most suitable for your situation can be best assessed through a detailed needs analysis.


Life Insurance is a powerful – and cost-effective – way to keep your estate intact; plus, you can set up Planned Giving to ensure that what you care about and your loved ones (rather than Revenue Canada) are your major beneficiaries.

Guaranteed Income Streams -

An annuity is a simple retirement income option that provides guaranteed income with no market exposure.




In exchange for a single lump sum investment, an insurance company will pay you income for the rest of your life or a chosen period.  This income payment will include the return of principal investment and interest. 

There are three types of annuities:

  1. Single Life Annuity 
    This type of annuity provides guaranteed income for a lifetime of one individual
    regardless of market conditions or interest rate fluctuations.


  2. Joint Life Annuity  
    This type of annuity, also called the Last Survivor Annuity, provides guaranteed income for the lives of two people regardless of market conditions or interest rate fluctuations.  The income is paid to the surviving individual when the first person dies.

  3. Annuity Certain 
    This annuity provides guaranteed income for a predetermined period or until you reach a certain age. 

Planned Legacy Giving -
Insurance Assisted Strategies

The Income Tax Act permits taxpayers to receive credit for charitable bequests up to 100% of their income in the year of death. Having a life insurance policy becomes extremely economical to fund a donation which is ultimately deductible.


  1. Use premiums paid each year as a charitable contribution. The donor is the life insured; the charity is named owner and beneficiary on the policy. The donor pays the premiums and deducts the premiums as a donation for tax receipt purposes. The charity receives face value upon the death of the donor.

  2. An existing policy with cash value. Donor donates an existing policy with the cash value assigned to the charity by way of an absolute assignment. The donor gets a tax receipt for the full cash value, and all future premiums are considered a charitable donation. The charity receives face value at the time of the donor's death.

  3. A donor-owned policy with a full face amount of insurance as the donor's contribution. A gifting strategy allows the full face value of insurance on death to be considered a charitable donation when most taxes are payable on estate assets. The donor has an individual or a joint second-to-die insurance policy established with the donor's estate as beneficiary. Upon death, the estate gives insurance policy proceeds to their charity of choice as per will instructions. It receives a tax credit for the full face value of insurance up to the taxable income in the year of death and the immediate proceeding year. The significant donation offsets taxes on RRSPs, RIFs, investments, recreational properties, etc. Children and grandchildren receive the full value of unused estate assets. Charity gets significant lump sum donation using the "multiplier effect" of insurance.



  • adjustable based on your cashflow

  • the cost to the family minimal

  • the most effective way to implement reduced tax strategies is the "Magic of Insurance."

Income Streams
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