Disability Insurance and Small Business: How a Small Business Owner Used Disability Insurance to Stay Afloat While Managing Depression

Sandra ran her own successful insurance agency company for over a decade before it hit her like a ton of bricks – she was chronically depressed and something had to change.

Triggered by a combination of constant stress leading to severe burnout and her 12-year-old son’s recent diagnosis with Type 1 diabetes, Sandra needed some time away from the office to recover and receive treatment. Her depression was absolutely debilitating and could have been devastating to her business and income.

Luckily, Sandra, whose name has been changed to protect her privacy, had purchased two disability insurance policies eight years prior that would help her through such a turbulent time. Sandra worked in the insurance industry and had seen just how important it was to protect yourself from a loss of income in case of a debilitating illness or disease.

“We would see the financial devastation that a disability or an untimely death could cause,” Sandra said. “That had a strong impact on me and I wanted my income and my business to be protected.”

Sandra purchased two disability policies: An office overhead insurance policy in the amount of $10,000 per month that protected her business and covered office expenditures for a period of 18 months. The second policy, personal disability insurance, was an income replacement policy that covered her until age 65 or the length of the disability. It protected her personally by providing her with a $10,000 tax-free, monthly income that allowed her to take the time off work that she needed to receive treatment. Sandra was also happy to learn that she could still spend a small amount of time overseeing her business while continuing to receive the benefits.

“Purchasing the policy gave me peace of mind, knowing what could have happened and ultimately what did happen,” she said.

In general, disability insurance, or commonly referred to as DI, pays a claim due to sickness or accident if the insured is unable to work beyond the normal waiting period. As opposed to critical illness insurance, which is paid out in one lump sum, disability insurance is paid out in monthly installments while the insured remains disabled. The policy that Sandra purchased paid disability benefits until she reached age 65.

After months of treatment, Sandra decided to sell her business and start a new business with her husband: one that allowed her the flexibility to spend more time working on her own needs and the needs of her family. Having disability insurance allowed her to make that transition in her own time and without harming her financially – all while working with qualified medical professionals to get help for her depression.

Sandra’s story is not unique. While most working adults like to believe that they are immune to calamity or harm, unfortunately, that is not the case. According to Statistics Canada, 33% of workers between the ages of 30 and 64 will experience a disability for longer than three months. And most disability claims will come from major illnesses, not accidents.

Which disability insurance policy is best for me?

Working with a financial advisor will help you determine what type of living benefits best fits your needs. But we can outline the basics here to get you started.

Short-term disability insurance: Short-term disability insurance will cover the loss of income due to a temporary illness or accident. The tax-free coverage typically extends between six to 26 weeks, and payments begin after your workplace sick leave expires. Usually, but not always, these plans are provided by employers and typically cover up to 70% of your income.

Long-term disability insurance: As the name implies, long-term disability will cover for a longer period of time depending on your policy. Long-term disability insurance provides monthly payments that commence following the elimination period, which is usually 30 to 90 days after the onset of disability, and can continue up to age 65.

Office Overhead Insurance: Office overhead insurance covers your office expenses if you become disabled. Eligible expenses include rent, utilities and staff salaries.

Group Disability Insurance: This type of disability insurance is typically provided through an employer. If the premiums are paid by the employee, the disability benefit is received tax free.

Questions? Reach out if you are interested in exploring which type of disability insurance would best suit your needs.

As always, please feel free to share this article with anyone you think would find it of interest.

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Preparing Your Heirs for Wealth

If you think your heirs are not quite old enough or prepared enough to discuss the wealth they will inherit on your death, you’re not alone. Unfortunately, this way of thinking can leave your beneficiaries in a decision-making vacuum: an unnecessary predicament which can be avoided by facing your own mortality and creating a plan.

Avoiding the subject of your own mortality can also be an extremely costly to those you leave behind.

If you have a will in place you are ahead of the game. However, authors of the 2017 Wealth Transfer Report from RBC Wealth Management point out that a will is only a fundamental first step, not a comprehensive plan.

“One generation’s success at building wealth does not ensure the next generation’s ability to manage wealth responsibly, or provide effective stewardship for the future,” they write. “Knowing the value (alone) does little to prepare inheritors for managing the considerable responsibilities of wealth.” Overall, the report’s authors say the number of inheritors who’ve been prepared hovers at just one in three.

Two thirds of the survey’s respondents say their own wealth transfer plans aren’t fully developed – a critical barrier to having this discussion in the first place.

While the report focuses on wealthier beneficiaries in society, the lessons remain true for most: to make the best decisions about your wealth transfer, there needs to be planning and communication with your heirs.

1. Recognize that action today can help you create a better future

First, it’s important to acknowledge that creating an estate plan means contemplating your own death – an inescapable element of the process. It can also involve some awkward conversations, particularly if you’re not in the habit of talking about money with family and loved ones.

Without planning the outcome you leave may not be the one you would choose:

“Despite their efforts, parents don’t always succeed in translating good intentions into effective actions. They tend to resort to the informal, in-house learning methods they received in childhood,” say the RBC report’s authors. “Without intending to, parents repeat the lessons that contributed to the weaknesses of their own financial education. In the end, they are not equipping the next generation with the right skills to build lasting legacies.”

2. Understand the tax implications early.

To many, the taxes due on death will almost certainly come as a shock. In many cases, the single largest tax bill you will pay could be the one that your executor handles for you.

In Canada, leaving your assets to your spouse will defer these taxes until he or she disposes of the property or dies. However, if a spouse is not inheriting your assets and real property, planning for this “deemed disposition” is needed to allow your heirs time to make appropriate decisions about your property and legacy.

You may want to consider strategies that will greatly reduce the impact of the taxes to your estate. These strategies could include the use of joint last to die life insurance.

To illustrate how the growth in value of property can result in taxes payable at death, consider an asset which many Canadians own and enjoy – the family cottage.

Recreational real estate in many cases has “been in the family for years.” It often will have appreciated in value significantly since its purchase. Say you purchased the family cottage for $100,000. If the property is now worth $500,000, half of that gain – $200,000 is added to your income and taxed as such in the year you die. That will result in a tax bill of approximately $100,000.

If your family does not have the liquid funds available to pay this bill, the cottage or some other asset will need to be sold to pay the Canada Revenue Agency. Purchasing life insurance to pay the taxes due at death is one way to bequeath the family cottage to heirs. This will allow your children to continue to enjoy the property without having to raise the money to pay the taxes.

All capital property – except your principal residence and investments held as a Tax-Free Savings Account – is dealt with in a similar manner. If your stocks, real property, and other assets have appreciated in value since you first purchased them, half of that amount will be added to your taxable income in the year you die. If your assets included commercial or rental property against which the Capital Cost Allowance has been claimed, there may also be a recapture of depreciation. Again, deferral is available when assets are left to a spouse but if they are left directly to children or other heirs, the taxes become payable when you die.

As if this is not bad enough, the full value of your RRSPs or your RRIF must also be deregistered and included on your final tax return if the RRSP or RRIF is not left to a surviving spouse.

3. Get help to build your plan, then share it with those who matter.

Estate planning typically isn’t a “do-it-yourself” project. Instead, you’ll probably need to rely on a network of professional advisors who can bring their expertise to different parts of your plan.

Once you have your plan in place, it’s time to ensure that the people who are impacted by it are aware of your wishes.

Members of your professional network can help explain your plan to beneficiaries and help those who inherit your assets to understand your preferences and the decisions you’ve made.

Let’s get together to review or create your wealth transfer plans and discuss how you can get assistance in communicating those plans to the people who matter the most.

As always, please feel free to share this article with anyone you think would find it of value.

Juvenile Critical Illness with Return of Premium – Protection if you need it. A refund if you don’t.

Critical Illness Insurance – Not Just for Adults

Most of us have experienced or known someone whose family has been greatly impacted by a parent being diagnosed with a life-threatening disease or condition. But what about when it happens to children? Sadly, all too often children are affected by childhood diseases such as:

  • Type 1 diabetes mellitus

  • Congenital heart disease

  • Cerebral palsy

  • Cystic fibrosis

  • Muscular dystrophy

The emotional and financial impact of these types of diagnosis can be devastating for a family.

Why would juvenile critical illness coverage make a difference?

  • Provides funds to find the best treatment and care for your child – inside or outside of Canada.

  • Provides the financial resources to be able to focus on your child’s needs so you don’t have to worry about;

    • Working

    • Extra childcare expenses for other children in the family

    • Extra expenses incurred by the illness.

  • Being prepared for this unexpected event will give you the priceless freedom to spend extra time with your child without the stress of financial concerns.

While most life insurance companies in Canada offer Critical Illness protection for adults, not all offer similar coverage for children. Of those that do, Sun Life provides a particularly unique policy when combined with a Return of Premium Option.

What makes Sun Life’s Juvenile Critical Illness Unique?

  • Insures against 25 adult conditions, plus the above childhood illnesses.

  • At age 24, childhood conditions drop off and the policy automatically continues as an adult plan.

  • The Return of Premium Option provides an automatic refund of 75% of all premiums paid at age 25 or 15 years from the policy date whichever is later.

  • The policy can be surrendered 15 years or later from that date for a refund of the balance of total premiums paid.

What happens when there is no claim?

Bob and Sally purchase $200,000 Critical Illness Term to 75 with Return of Premium Rider on their 5 year old son, Michael. The annual premium for the policy is $1,393 ($462 of this premium represents the Return of Premium Rider)

  • At Michael’s age 25, an automatic refund of premiums returns $20,895. This represents 75% of the total premiums paid to date.

    • Adding the Return of Premium Rider for a cost of $462 a year represents a tax-free rate of return of 7.26% on that portion of the premium.

  • In Michael’s case, he can surrender the policy any time after his age 40 for a full refund of the balance of the total premiums paid.

Additional Premium Refund at surrender:

  • Age 40 $ 27,860

  • Age 45 $ 34,825

  • Age 50 $ 41,790

Sun Life’s Critical Illness Insurance plan with the Return of Premium Option for juveniles is a very unique plan that provides peace of mind if you need the protection and a full refund of your premiums if you don’t.

If you would like to explore this exceptional plan in more detail please call me and I will be happy to assist. Also, feel free to share this article with anyone you feel would benefit from this information by using the share buttons.

* – assumes application is made for non-smoker rates at age 18

Copyright © 2017 FSB Content Marketing Inc – All Rights Reserved

A Lifetime Gift for Your Grandchildren

The Cascading Life Insurance Strategy

If you are a grandparent wishing to provide an asset for your grandchildren without compromising your own financial security, you may want to consider an estate planning application known as Cascading Life Insurance.

How does the Cascading Life Insurance Strategy work?

  • The grandparent would purchase an insurance policy on his or her grandchild and funds the policy to create significant cash value;

  • The grandparent would own the policy and name the parent of the grandchild as contingent owner and primary beneficiary;

  • The cost of life insurance is lowest at younger ages, maximizing the tax deferred growth of the cash value in the policy.

What are the benefits of the Cascading Life Insurance Strategy?

  • Tax deferred or tax free accumulation of wealth;

  • Generational transfer of wealth with no income tax consequences;

  • Avoids probate fees;

  • Protection against claims of creditors;

  • Provides a significant legacy;

  • Access the cash value to pay child’s expenses such as education costs. (Withdrawal of cash value may have tax consequences);

  • It’s a cost effective way for grandparents to provide a significant legacy.

For the grandchild, he or she ultimately receives a gift that will provide significant benefits:

  • A growing cash value that can never decline;

  • Access to borrow from the policy for education, down payment on a home, or to invest in a business;

  • The policy could also provide an annual income by changing the dividend option to cash;

  • Life insurance which continues to grow in death benefit to protect his or her future family.

Case Study

Let’s look at an example of this strategy. Grandpa Brian is 65 and has funds put aside for the benefit of his grandson, Ian.

  • Grandpa Brian purchases a 20 Pay Participating Whole Life policy on Ian, age 11, for an annual deposit of $5,000;

  • Brian’s daughter, Kelly is named as contingent owner in the event of Grandpa Brian’s death and beneficiary in the event of Ian’s death;

  • At Ian’s age 31, the policy becomes paid up with no future premiums.

If Grandpa Brian were to die at age 85 the following could happen:

  • The ownership of the policy now passes to Ian’s mom Kelly;

  • The cash value of the policy (at current dividend assumptions) would be $ 134,049 and the death benefit of the policy would be $679,634;

  • Kelly has a choice to remain the owner of the policy or transfer the ownership to her 31-year-old son without any tax consequences.

Because of Grandpa Brian’s legacy planning, Grandchild Ian, now age 31, has a significant insurance estate that will continue to grow with no further premiums! By Ian’s age 45, the death benefit, at current dividend scale, would be $1,030,045 with a cash value of 311,811.

Please call me if you think your family would benefit from this strategy or share this article with a friend or family member you think may find this information of value.

Note – The numbers shown in the Case Study are using Equitable Life’s Estate Builder 20 pay Participating Whole Life policy with maximum Excelerator Deposit Option.