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Senior Life Settlements- A New Financial Dawn Emerges

When delving deeper into the market-driven research on the myriads of reasons, motivations, and/or rationales for senior life settlements - seniors selling their life insurance policies have surfaced in recent years. According to studies by key industry players, policyholder rationales for selling life policies are to be identified on one of three levels, due to a combination of them OR influencers from all three levels working together to result in senior life settlement transactions:

Individual: cash-need for major expenses, outlived need for coverage, needing different coverage or features, financial distress

Family / Estate: Change in beneficiaries (e.g., divorce, death of dependents), Second-to-die policyholder (i.e., spouse) has passed away, material change in the value of estate

Business: Change in key executives / partners, change in succession plan (e.g., family business) or needing cash / seeking to monetize assets

(Source: Bernstein Research Call, Sanford C. Bernstein & Co., LLC, a subsidiary of Alliance Capital Management, 2005)

Other sources (Milestone Settlements, 2004) confirm that senior life settlements appeal as solutions to individuals most likely to consider a life settlement, because they, for one reason or another, no longer need the insurance they purchased. A number of reasons may include:

* Seniors whom have insurance and/or estate needs that have changed, making their current policy(s) inadequate or exceedingly adequate for their current or future needs

* Seniors who are not satisfied with the performance of the insurance product(s) they have chosen, or are aware of newer, better performing insurance products

* Seniors who choose to realize the value of their policy(s) now, rather than continuing to pay on a policy they will never receive the benefits of

* Individuals, or owners of a company, who own key man policies that are no longer needed, or elect to use the sale of the policy(s) to enhance a buy-out or create severance packages

* Seniors who wish to live out the remaining years of life without a change in lifestyle

* Individuals who need capital to pay for medical treatments or procedures

* Any senior who realizes that there is now a greater tangible asset value to their life insurance policy, and wishes to take advantage of this added value

A cautionary note seems appropriate here. Senior Life Settlements is definitely not territory to approach without the advice and assistance, counsel and due diligence of a well-versed, experienced player in this secondary market. A financial advisor with exposure and experience could advise you and assist you in become aware of any tax liabilities you may face should you sell your policy. Most times a life settlement is taxed on the income above and beyond the basis (what you've paid into your policy to date) of your policy. Each senior life settlement case is different and if seems prudent to have a consultation with a tax advisor or your financial planner prior to proceeding down the path of Senior Life Settlements.