Author Topic: Dad wants me to take a life insurance policy out on him?  (Read 2603 times)


  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
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    • TidesofJulie
Dad wants me to take a life insurance policy out on him?
« on: April 23, 2016, 07:52:29 AM »
This sounds extremely morbid, and I was against it at first. But my dad said that his father told him to do the same thing, and he wished he had.

Some background: My dad is 63 years old, in good health except that he has to use a catheter after surgery on his bladder/kidney was screwed up. His father passed away at 78 and his mother passed away at 86.

I was horrified at the thought at first. But the more that I think about it--well here's the deal. He hasn't saved up enough for retirement. He will work until 66 to get full benefits from social security, but I still don't believe he has enough.

My mother is bipolar--the kind that gets her sent to a state hospital every time she becomes manic. She has absolutely nothing, and in fact--they are divorced, but 'together' in the fact that she has nowhere else to go and so still lives with my Dad. His will has nothing going to her, it's split 50/50 between me and my brother. My brother is completely financial irresponsible and I know that if there is any money left, that will be gone within the first year. My main concern is that if my mom outlives my dad (which I'm not sure if she will), I will be left taking care of her. I love her and do not mind this at all, except that with her mental issues and her health (she is already extremely overweight) I don't think I could do it on my own without getting help--and I know that will be expensive.

Perhaps part of my questions is also about how to talk to my father about the will. Because I think that there should be a trust set up for my mother--otherwise even though its split 50/50, I will very likely end up with negative net worth after taking care of my mother. He has my brother as executor--he told me he switched it to me, then felt guilty and switched it back to him. I don't know how much power that gives him, I love my brother but my dad is still paying to keep his car from being repossessed, give him grocery money for him and his family, etc (and my brother makes 75k a year, it's not because he can't do it).

 I don't know if life insurance is even worth anything, as I don't understand how the insurance company will give you money for something that is almost a certainty.

I'm afraid to talk to my dad about the will as I have tried multiple times to talk to him about his investments and he refuses to let me help him. He does love me and is a good father, I just think he doesn't like getting advice from his 25 year old daughter.

I hope I don't come across as bitter or calculating. It is a real concern that I will go into debt if I am left to take care of my mother. And I would gladly do so if it was between that or leaving her in a state run old folk's home. It does keep me up at night though, My dreams involve being tied down to nothing and my plans would intersect right about the time that these problems might begin to occur. Ideally, I just want to have enough money to make sure my mom is well taken care of in old age, and I feel like I don't have enough time to save for that without pulling extensively from my retirement. I'd appreciate any advice.


  • Bristles
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Re: Dad wants me to take a life insurance policy out on him?
« Reply #1 on: April 23, 2016, 09:03:51 AM »
My father did this in his 50's before he had any problems. It was cheap then and the premiums gradually increased. I was the sole beneficiary. I am very glad that he thought about this and about long term care insurance. We were pretty much on the last boat for long-term care insurance that wasn't completely out of reach and it did pay for weekday tasks-of-daily-living aides, albeit with a TON of hassle. My father paid the premiums for both. He ended up with dementia but only for his last year. He was able to live at home, with me,  until the end.

If you are going to assume care of one of your parents, the last thing you should feel is guilty or calculating. It is going to impact your work (time off for this and that, being distracted) and later on your entire life. If the financial burden is lifted somewhat, that's one less stress during a very difficult time.


  • Walrus Stache
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Re: Dad wants me to take a life insurance policy out on him?
« Reply #2 on: April 23, 2016, 09:09:53 AM »
Talk to a trusts and estates attorney about this situation. If taking care of your mother is his goal and yours, there are several different kinds of trusts he can set up, including one that contains an insurance policy.

Secretly Saving

  • Bristles
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Re: Dad wants me to take a life insurance policy out on him?
« Reply #3 on: April 23, 2016, 10:06:14 AM »
A few years ago I read a book called The Retirement Savings Time Bomb and How to Defuse It.   Author, Ed Slott, had a section on life insurance and how it can be a retirement account's "best defense."  It was definitely more of a tax strategy for protecting assets from post death taxes.  Maybe your dad was thinking along these lines --  since the life insurance money would be estate and income tax free if the policy is set up so that it is not an asset of your father's estate (ie: if you were the policy holder instead of your father).   

Two pieces of additional info though...

-  Currently, the federal estate tax lifetime exemption amounts are incredibly favorable right now, so unless the estate is 5mil+ it won't be an issue in terms of federal taxes (as of 2016). 

- BUT, your father might reside in a state that has estate or inheritance tax.  Here is a link to states as of 2015 that have either estate, inheritance or both taxes:


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