SOURCE: SelectQuote

SelectQuote

April 12, 2010 13:18 ET

Nothing Is Certain Except Death and Taxes

Financial Experts Encourage Consumers, as They File Their Tax Returns, to Ensure Their Personal Financial Affairs Are in Order Including a Will and Life Insurance; SelectQuote CEO Offers Advice on Life Insurance

SAN FRANCISCO, CA--(Marketwire - April 12, 2010) -  This time of year, as consumers rush to file their taxes by the April 15th deadline, that old Benjamin Franklin saying seems to come to mind, "in this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes." Personal finance experts say this is a perfect time of year to consider these certainties, and ensure that one's personal finances are in order, including a will and life insurance

"Consumers are very focused this time of year on getting their taxes prepared and filed. It's an opportune time to make sure all your financial affairs are in order. As Benjamin Franklin said, the only things certain in life are death and taxes, and we should be prepared financially with a will and proper life insurance coverage for our families," said Charan Singh, a financial expert and Chief Executive Officer of SelectQuote. 

Suze Orman, the well-known financial expert, echoes these comments in her article "Nine Small Financial Steps That Will Pay Off Big in the Future," with a call to create the "most loving documents in existence" -- a living trust, a durable power of attorney and a will. She further recommends "guaranteeing peace of mind" by purchasing a life insurance policy. 

Charan Singh adds, "Life insurance is the foundation of a smart financial plan, particularly when there are family and loved ones who depend on a person's financial support. All other financial planning can be for naught without the foundation of life insurance in place."

Financial experts also note that the benefits from life insurance policies are typically not subject to federal taxes when paid directly to a beneficiary or when an estate is less than $ 3.5 million (Note that caps vary by year).1 While an estate might not be subject to federal estate taxes, it may be liable for state estate taxes. Consulting legal and tax professionals may help to minimize estate tax liability through a properly structured will and trust. 

On her website, Orman discusses the importance of, and provides some detail on, wills and trusts: "Everyone has a will whether they know it or not. The state has already designated where your assets are going if you do not decide for yourself. Everyone needs a will if they have any assets whatsoever. Wills and trusts help us to protect ourselves. These documents indicate who will make important decisions for us in the future."

If a person passes away without a will then the estate must go through the process of probate, the legal process of settlement of the estate within the courts. This process can be lengthy and costly, and could result in individuals who were not intended receiving all or a portion of the estate. Furthermore, estates which do not have a will are likely to see the state take a larger portion in taxes.

"The lesson here is to prepare for life's certainties and uncertainties, and to protect one's family," said Charan Singh of SelectQuote.com.

There are a number online sources that a consumer can consult when considering life insurance and estate planning: CNNMoney has an "Estate Planning 101" section (www.money.cnn.com); Suze Orman's website has information and resources on life insurance and wills and trusts (www.suzeorman.com); and SelectQuote can provide comparative life insurance quotes from more than a dozen leading insurance companies (www.selectquote.com).

SelectQuote Insurance Services, www.selectquote.com, is the nation's number one term life insurance broker, offering consumers quotes and comparisons from more than a dozen of the country's leading and most highly-rated insurance carriers. 

1 Figure is for filings for 2009. There is no federal estate tax if your estate is worth less than $3.5 million in 2009; if your estate goes to your spouse; or if, before you died, you gave the policy to someone else, such as your children in a trust. Currently there is no federal estate tax at all in 2010 due to a sunset provision in federal law; however the estate tax returns in 2011. The amount that can be passed on tax free has increased and decreased over the years according to federal law, and will likely change again in the future.

Contact Information

  • For further information, contact:

    Dan Cahill
    (917) 617-0106
    Email Contact