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Can Life Insurance Go Into a Trust? Everything You Need to Know

Parents with young son looking at a lake. They are asking can life insurance go into a trust?

Can life insurance go into a trust? Yes it can. However, sometimes it makes more sense to simply name a trust as the beneficiary of your life insurance proceeds. Life insurance is an essential tool for ensuring the financial security of your loved ones after you’re gone. It provides a financial safety net, helping your family cover expenses, debts, and maintain their quality of life. But by itself it offers little flexibility in terms of how the beneficiaries receive their money. In this blog post, we’ll explore the benefits of either putting life insurance into a trust or naming a trust as the beneficiary of your life insurance.

Control Over Distribution.

By placing your life insurance policy into a trust, you gain more control over how the proceeds are distributed after your passing. You can specify detailed instructions within the trust document, such as the amount of money each beneficiary receives, the timing of distributions, and even the purpose of the funds (education, mortgage payments, etc.). This level of control ensures that your intentions are carried out precisely, providing for your family’s needs as you envisioned.

Minimizing Estate Taxes.

Life insurance policies are often included in the value of your estate for tax purposes. However, by transferring ownership of the policy to an irrevocable life insurance trust (ILIT), you effectively remove the policy’s value from your estate. As a result, the proceeds from the policy are not subject to estate taxes, potentially saving your beneficiaries a significant amount of money. Properly structured ILITs can provide tax-efficient wealth transfer strategies while preserving the financial well-being of your loved ones.

Protection Against Creditors and Lawsuits.

Life insurance policies held within a trust can offer additional protection against potential creditors and lawsuits. Placing the policy in an irrevocable trust shields the proceeds from being accessible to creditors and protects the funds from potential legal claims against your estate. This safeguard ensures that the intended beneficiaries receive the full benefit of the life insurance proceeds without interference from external parties.

Avoiding Probate.

You may not want the insurance beneficiary to receive money outright. For example:

Can life insurance go into a trust for a minor child?

Yes. If the life insurance beneficiary is a minor child, they cannot legally hold money or open an account. So, someone would then need to be appointed through the probate court as the child’s conservator. This is an expensive and tedious process. You can easily avoid it by having the proceeds go to a trust for that child.

Beneficiary is bad at managing money.

Most people have about as much money as they are able to manage. If you change that by giving them a lump sum, the chances are that the beneficiary is going to make bad choices and not hold onto it for very long. Having a trust for their benefit (with someone else managing it) can help them adjust to the inheritance and eventually be able to manage it more wisely.

The beneficiary has addiction issues.

If the beneficiary has drug, alcohol, or gambling problems, it’s not wise to give them a pile of money. They would quickly spend it. In this case, a trust can provide monthly payments or payments on an “as needed” basis.

Flexibility for changing circumstances.

Sometimes the beneficiary of life insurance dies. If your life insurance has no beneficiaries, your insurance proceeds are payable to your estate. Having a trust can offer contingent plans in case something like this happens.

Flexibility and Customization.

Life insurance trusts offer a high degree of flexibility and customization. You can design the trust to meet your specific objectives and accommodate changes in your circumstances over time. Whether you want to add or remove beneficiaries, change distribution percentages, or update the purpose of the funds, a trust provides the necessary framework to adapt your estate plan as needed. Regular reviews with your estate planning attorney ensure that your trust aligns with your current wishes and goals.

Conclusion: Can life insurance go into a trust?

Placing your life insurance policy into a trust can provide numerous benefits, including increased control over distribution, tax savings, protection against creditors and lawsuits, avoidance of probate, and flexibility for future modifications. Working with an experienced estate planning attorney is essential to establish an appropriate trust structure and ensure compliance with legal requirements. Take the necessary steps today to secure your family’s financial future and explore the option of putting your life insurance policy into a trust. By doing so, you can optimize your estate plan and leave a lasting legacy for your loved ones.

Let Use Help You.

Take control of your estate planning and secure your loved ones’ financial future by placing your life insurance policy into a trust. Our team of skilled trust attorneys at Sudden Wealth Protection Law is ready to assist you in creating a tailored trust solution that meets your unique needs. Don’t wait until it’s too late—call us today at 602-443-4888 to schedule a consultation and ensure your assets are protected and distributed according to your wishes. Your family’s peace of mind is just a phone call away.


Founding attorney Paul Deloughery has been an attorney since 1998, became a Certified Family Wealth Advisor. He is also the founder of Sudden Wealth Protection Law.