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    Irrevocable Life Insurance Trusts

    Irrevocable Life Insurance Trusts

    Life Insurance

    Trusts can help you address your most important concerns. You may be able to provide income for the people and places that matter most, while minimizing and places that matter most, while minimizing estate taxes and providing funds for estate settlement costs.


    A common planning technique used to minimize estate taxes involves an Irrevocable Life Insurance Trust (ILIT). A properly structured and administered ILIT will not be considered part of your estate for inheritance/estate tax purposes — meaning your heirs won’t have to pay estate or inheritance taxes on them.


    • May reduce both federal and state estate taxes by taking death benefit proceeds out of your estate.
    • Provides liquidity at death to pay estate taxes or increase what beneficiaries receive.
    • Protects the trust assets from creditors.
    • Manages assets on behalf of the beneficiaries, with funds distributed in accordance to the terms of the trust.


    • The grantor cannot terminate the ILIT once it is established. However, with a properly drafted trust, the Grantor’s spouse or parents can have flexibility in adjusting the terms
    • Assets in an ILIT are not available for the grantor’s access or use.
    • Transfers of assets to an ILIT may only be used for the benefit of trust beneficiaries.


    An ILIT is an irrevocable trust that purchases a life insurance policy on the person who set up the trust, called the “grantor” or “insured”. Typically, the grantor annually makes a gift in the amount of the policy’s premium to the trustee. The trustee notifies the beneficiaries that they have an option to withdraw this gift from the trustee - Crummey powers. A typical Crummey withdrawal power lapses 30 days after the gift is made to the trust.

    After grantor’s death, the trustee files a claim and receives the death benefits of the trust. The proceeds are then received, gift, income and estate tax free. This allows the trust to buy assets from the grantor’s estate or satisfy any other liquid needs. The distributions are distributed to the beneficiaries, in accordance with the terms of the trust.


    A competent trustee is as important to the success of a trust as its being well-drafted. Below are some duties and responsibilities to consider when making a selection:

    • Administer the trust
    • Be loyal, impartial and prudent
    • Control and protect trust property
    • Collect trust property
    • Inform and report to beneficiaries
    • Diversify investments
    • Keep records and no commingling
    • Enforce and defend claims



    Beneficiaries are typically a spouse, child, relative, or friend that the grantor would like to leave money to after death. Establishing an ILIT, allows the grantor to control exactly how, when and why beneficiaries receive the proceeds. Proceeds can be paid monthly, annually or in one lump sum. The grantor can even dictate that beneficiaries will receive money when they attain certain milestones, for example, when a beneficiary graduates from college, buys a first home, marries, or has a child. If the beneficiary is on government aid, your Trustee can carefully control how distributions 
    from your policy are used in such a way as not to interfere with your beneficiary’s eligibility to receive government benefits. 


    Ownership of a policy as well as how the proceeds are held at payout can have a significant impact on the post-tax estate left to one’s 
    family. Discuss an ILIT with  your Lenox Advisor to determine if it is right for you, and the best way to structure the ILIT based on your needs.


    Lenox Advisors, Inc. (Lenox) is a wholly owned subsidiary of NFP Corp. (NFP), a financial services holding company, New York, NY. Securities and investment advisory services offered through qualified registered representatives of MML Investors Services, LLC. Member SIPC. 90 Park Ave, 17th Floor, New York, NY 10016, 212.536.6000. Fee based planning services are offered through Lenox Wealth Advisors, LLC (LWA), a registered investment adviser. Services will be referred by qualified representatives of MML Investors Services, LLC (MMLIS). LWA is a subsidiary of NFP and affiliated under common control with Lenox. Lenox, LWA and NFP are not subsidiaries or affiliates of MMLIS, or its affiliated companies. The information provided is not written or intended as specific tax or legal advice. Lenox Advisors, Inc., its employees and representatives are not authorized to give tax or legal advice. Individuals are encouraged to seek advice from their own tax or legal counsel. Individuals involved in the estate planning process should work with an estate planning team, including their own personal legal or tax counsel. CRN202111-256051