Life Insurance Ownership and Beneficiary Designations

This course provides an in-depth look at life insurance ownership and beneficiary designations. It details a life insurance owner’s rights and responsibilities and examines the role of life insurance beneficiaries and their standing with respect to the contract. The course explains how life insurance contracts are formed, who may own life insurance contracts, third-party ownership arrangements (including viatical and life settlements), how beneficiaries can and should be designated, and the estate and income tax treatment of life insurance to both owners and beneficiaries.

The course covers the following topics:

  • Life Insurance Ownership
  • Ownership Rights in Life Insurance
  • Third-Party Ownership: Viaticals and Life Settlements
  • Life Insurance Beneficiaries
  • Taxation of Life Insurance Owners and Beneficiaries

This is an intermediate-level course. Upon completion, students will be able to:

  • explain how life insurance contracts are formed
  • articulate who may own life insurance policies
  • describe the rights and responsibilities associated with life insurance policy ownership
  • demonstrate understanding of third-party ownership arrangements, including viaticals, life settlements, and STOLI transactions
  • describe the role and rights of life insurance beneficiaries
  • design proper beneficiary designations
  • recognize unique and problematic beneficiary designations
  • demonstrate an understanding of the income and estate tax treatment of life insurance to owners and beneficiaries