Happy 100th birthday! Here’s why you could end up with surprise taxes

Personal Finance

Uncle Sam has a birthday gift for certain people who make it to 100: A tax bill.

This applies to those who purchased so-called permanent life insurance to address complex financial planning needs, including estate planning. These contracts come with a savings component, known as cash value, which accumulates free of taxes.

Your heirs generally get a death benefit payout free of income taxes if you pass away. But if you beat the insurance company by surviving to see 100, your insurer could cash you out of your policy, potentially leading to taxes.

“You’ve turned an income-tax free death benefit into a tax-bill, and most likely it will pay less than the death benefit, too,” said Tom Love, vice president of insurance analytics at Valmark Financial Group.

Here’s why your centenary might be a little less sweet.

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