The details of our lives are constantly evolving. So in a very real sense estate planning is an ongoing process rather than a single event. A plan that makes sense for you today may not be appropriate five, ten, or twenty years from now. There are many strategies that can be utilized in a well drafted estate plan depending on the specifics of your situation. When you prepare an estate plan you should do so recognizing that you should revisit it over time.
Life insurance is one such tool in an estate planners tool box that may have very usefull apllications depending on your circumstances. When you are still in your working years it is likely that your family depends on your income to maintain their standard of living. If you consider where they would be if that income was suddenly absent, you can immediately see the value of life insurance as an income replacement vehicle. Life insurance coverage should be reviewed periodically as your income increases and the needs of your family change.
Life insurance has some other very useful applications in addition to its value as an income replacement vehicle. It can be used to balance an estate in cases when certain real property or a business interest is left to one beneficiary. It is also commonly used as part of a business succession strategy where the business will take out insurance policies on owners in amounts equal to their respective ownership in the business. Upon the death of an owner insurance benefits are then used to buy out that partner's share and the funds are distributed to a designated beneficiary of the deceased owner. Life insurance may also be important to create liquidity at death to pay expenses so that the sale of assets is nor forced in order to pay expenses such as federal estate tax.