26 CFR § 1.101-4 - Payment of life insurance proceeds at a date later than death.

§ 1.101-4 Payment of life insurance proceeds at a date later than death.

(a) In general. (1)(i) Section 101(d) states the provisions governing the exclusion from gross income of amounts (other than those to which section 101(c) applies) received under a life insurance contract and paid by reason of the death of the insured which are paid to a beneficiary on a date or dates later than the death of the insured. However, if the amounts payable as proceeds of life insurance to which section 101(a)(1) applies cannot in any event exceed the amount payable at the time of the insured's death, such amounts are fully excludable from the gross income of the recipient (or recipients) without regard to the actual time of payment and no further determination need be made under this section. Section 101(d)(1)(A) provides an exclusion from gross income of any amount determined by a proration, under applicable regulations, of “an amount held by an insurer with respect to any beneficiary”. The quoted phrase is defined in section 101(d)(2). For the regulations governing the method of computation of this proration, see paragraphs (c) through (f) of this section. The prorated amounts are to be excluded from the gross income of the beneficiary regardless of the taxable year in which they are actually received (see example (2) of subparagraph (2) of this paragraph).

(ii) Section 101(d)(1)(B) provides an additional exclusion where life insurance proceeds are paid to the surviving spouse of an insured. For purposes of this exclusion, the term “surviving spouse” means the spouse of the insured as of the date of death, including a spouse legally separated, but not under a decree of absolute divorce (section 101(d)(3)). To the extent that the total payments, under one or more agreements, made in excess of the amounts determined by proration under section 101(d)(1)(A) do not exceed $1,000 in the taxable year of receipt, they shall be excluded from the gross income of the surviving spouse (whether or not payment of any part of such amounts is guaranteed by the insurer). Amounts excludable under section 101(d)(1)(B) are not “prorated” amounts.

(2) The principles of this paragraph may be illustrated by the following examples:

Example 1.
A surviving spouse elects to receive all of the life insurance proceeds with respect to one insured, amounting to $150,000, in ten annual installments of $16,500 each, based on a certain guaranteed interest rate. The prorated amount is $15,000 ($150,000 ÷ 10). As the second payment, the insurer pays $17,850, which exceeds the guaranteed payment by $1,350 as the result of earnings of the insurer in excess of those required to pay the guaranteed installments. The surviving spouse shall include $1,850 in gross income and exclude $16,000 - determined in the following manner:
Fixed payment (including guaranteed interest) $16,500
Excess interest 1,350
Total payment 17,850
Prorated amount 15,000
Excess over prorated amount 2,850
Annual excess over prorated amount excludable under section 101(d)(1)(B) 1,000
Amount includible in gross income 1,850
Example 2.
Assume the same facts as in example (1), except that the third and fourth annual installments, totalling $33,000 (2 × $16,500), are received in a single subsequent taxable year of the surviving spouse. The prorated amount of $15,000 of each annual installment, totalling $30,000, shall be excluded even though the spouse receives more than one annual installment in the single subsequent taxable year. However, the surviving spouse is entitled to only one exclusion of $1,000 under section 101(d)(1)(B) for each taxable year of receipt. The surviving spouse shall include $2,000 in her gross income for the taxable year with respect to the above installment payments ($33,000 less the sum of $30,000 plus $1,000).
Example 3.
Assume the same facts as in example (1), except that the surviving spouse dies before receiving all ten annual installments and the remaining installments are paid to her estate or beneficiary. In such a case, $15,000 of each installment would continue to be excludable from the gross income of the recipient, but any amounts received in excess thereof would be fully includible.

(b) Amount held by an insurer.

(1) For the purpose of the proration referred to in section 101(d)(1), an “amount held by an insurer with respect to any beneficiary” means an amount equal to the present value to such beneficiary (as of the date of death of the insured) of an agreement by the insurer under a life insurance policy (whether as an option or otherwise) to pay such beneficiary an amount or amounts at a date or dates later than the death of the insured (section 101(d)(2)). The present value of such agreement is to be computed as if the agreement under the life insurance policy had been entered into on the date of death of the insured, except that such value shall be determined by the use of the mortality table and interest rate used by the insurer in calculating payments to be made to the beneficiary under such agreement. Where an insurance policy provides an option for the payment of a specific amount upon the death of the insured in full discharge of the contract, such lump sum is the amount held by the insurer with respect to all beneficiaries (or their beneficiaries) under the contract. See, however, paragraph (e) of this section.

(2) In the case of two or more beneficiaries, the “amount held by the insurer” with respect to each beneficiary depends on the relationship of the different benefits payable to such beneficiaries. Where the amounts payable to two or more beneficiaries are independent of each other, the “amount held by the insurer with respect to each beneficiary” shall be determined and prorated over the periods involved independently. Thus, if a certain amount per month is to be paid to A for his life, and, concurrently, another amount per month is to be paid to B for his life, the “amount held by the insurer” shall be determined and prorated for both A and B independently, but the aggregate shall not exceed the total present value of such payments to both. On the other hand, if the obligation to pay B was contingent on his surviving A, the “amount held by the insurer” shall be considered an amount held with respect to both beneficiaries simultaneously. Furthermore, it is immaterial whether B is a named beneficiary or merely the ultimate recipient of payments for a term of years. For the special rules governing the computation of the proration of the “amount held by an insurer” in determining amounts excludable under the provisions of section 101(d), see paragraphs (c) to (f), inclusive, of this section.

(3) Notwithstanding any other provision of this section, if the policy was transferred for a valuable consideration, the total “amount held by an insurer” cannot exceed the sum of the consideration paid plus any premiums or other consideration paid subsequent to the transfer if the provisions of section 101(a)(2) and paragraph (b) of § 1.101-1 limit the excludability of the proceeds to such total.

(c) Treatment of payments for life to a sole beneficiary. If the contract provides for the payment of a specified lump sum, but, pursuant to an agreement between the beneficiary and the insurer, payments are to be made during the life of the beneficiary in lieu of such lump sum, the lump sum shall be divided by the life expectancy of the beneficiary determined in accordance with the mortality table used by the insurer in determining the benefits to be paid. However, if payments are to be made to the estate or beneficiary of the primary beneficiary in the event that the primary beneficiary dies before receiving a certain number of payments or a specified total amount, such lump sum shall be reduced by the present value (at the time of the insured's death) of amounts which may be paid by reason of the guarantee, in accordance with the provisions of paragraph (e) of this section, before making this calculation. To the extent that payments received in each taxable year do not exceed the amount found from the above calculation, they are “prorated amounts” of the “amount held by an insurer” and are excludable from the gross income of the beneficiary without regard to whether he lives beyond the life expectancy used in making the calculation. If the contract in question does not provide for the payment of a specific lump sum upon the death of the insured as one of the alternative methods of payment, the present value (at the time of the death of the insured) of the payments to be made the beneficiary, determined in accordance with the interest rate and mortality table used by the insurer in determining the benefits to be paid, shall be used in the above calculation in lieu of a lump sum.

(d) Treatment of payments to two or more beneficiaries -

(1) Unrelated payments. If payments are to be made to two or more beneficiaries, but the payments to be made to each are to be made without regard to whether or not payments are made or continue to be made to the other beneficiaries, the present value (at the time of the insured's death) of such payments to each beneficiary shall be determined independently for each such beneficiary. The present value so determined shall then be divided by the term for which the payments are to be made. If the payments are to be made for the life of the beneficiary, the divisor shall be the life expectancy of the beneficiary. To the extent that payments received by a beneficiary do not exceed the amount found from the above calculation, they are “prorated amounts” of the “amount held by an insurer” with respect to such beneficiary and are excludable from the gross income of the beneficiary without regard to whether he lives beyond any life expectancy used in making the calculation. For the purpose of the calculation described above, both the “present value” of the payments to be made periodically and the “life expectancy” of the beneficiary shall be determined in accordance with the interest rate and mortality table used by the insurer in determining the benefits to be paid. If payments are to be made to the estate or beneficiary of a primary beneficiary in the event that such beneficiary dies before receiving a certain number of payments or a specified total amount, the “present value” of payments to such beneficiary shall not include the present value (at the time of the insured's death) of amounts which may be paid by reason of such a guarantee. See paragraph (e) of this section.

(2) Related payments. If payments to be made to two or more beneficiaries are in the nature of a joint and survivor annuity (as described in paragraph (b) of § 1.72-5), the present value (at the time of the insured's death) of the payments to be made to all such beneficiaries shall be divided by the life expectancy of such beneficiaries as a group. To the extent that the payments received by a beneficiary do not exceed the amount found from the above calculation, they are “prorated amounts” of the “amount held by an insurer” with respect to such beneficiary and are excludable from the gross income of the beneficiary without regard to whether all the beneficiaries involved live beyond the life expectancy used in making the calculation. For the purpose of the calculation described above, both the “present value” of the payments to be made periodically and the “life expectancy” of all the beneficiaries as a group shall be determined in accordance with the interest rate and mortality table used by the insurer in determining the benefits to be paid. If the contract provides that certain payments are to be made in the event that all the beneficiaries of the group die before a specified number of payments or a specified total amount is received by them, the present value of payments to be made to the group shall not include the present value (at the time of the insured's death) of amounts which may be paid by reason of such a guarantee. See paragraph (e) of this section.

(3) Payments to secondary beneficiaries. Payments made by reason of the death of a beneficiary (or beneficiaries) under a contract providing that such payments shall be made in the event that the beneficiary (or beneficiaries) die before receiving a specified number of payments or a specified total amount shall be excluded from the gross income of the recipient to the extent that such payments are made solely by reason of such guarantee.

(e) Treatment of present value of guaranteed payments. In the case of payments which are to be made for a life or lives under a contract providing that further amounts shall be paid upon the death of the primary beneficiary (or beneficiaries) in the event that such beneficiary (or beneficiaries) die before receiving a specified number of payments or a specified total amount, the present value (at the time of the insured's death) of all payments to be made under the contract shall not include, for purposes of prorating the amount held by the insurer, the present value of the payments which may be made to the estate or beneficiary of the primary beneficiary. In such a case, any lump sum amount used to measure the value of the amount held by an insurer with respect to the primary beneficiary must be reduced by the value at the time of the insured's death of any amounts which may be paid by reason of the guarantee provided for a secondary beneficiary or the estate of the primary beneficiary before prorating such lump sum over the life or lives of the primary beneficiaries. Such present value (of the guaranteed payment) shall be determined by the use of the interest rate and mortality tables used by the insurer in determining the benefits to be paid.

(f) Treatment of payments not paid periodically. Payments made to beneficiaries other than periodically shall be included in the gross income of the recipients, but only to the extent that they exceed amounts payable at the time of the death of the insured to each such beneficiary or, where no such amounts are specified, the present value of such payments at that time.

(g) Examples. The principles of this section may be illustrated by the following examples:

Example 1.
A life insurance policy provides for the payment of $20,000 in a lump sum to the beneficiary at the death of the insured. Upon the death of the insured, the beneficiary elects an option to leave the proceeds with the company for five years and then receive payment of $24,000, having no claim of right to any part of such sum before the entire five years have passed. Upon the payment of the larger sum, $24,000, the beneficiary shall include $4,000 in gross income and exclude $20,000 therefrom. If it is assumed that the same insurer has determined the benefits to be paid, the same result would obtain if no lump sum amount were provided for at the death of the insured and the beneficiary were to be paid $24,000 five years later. In neither of these cases would the surviving spouse be able to exclude any additional amount from gross income since both cases involve an amount held by an insurer under an agreement to pay interest thereon to which section 101(c) applies, rather than an amount to be paid periodically after the death of the insured to which section 101(d) applies.
Example 2.
A life insurance policy provides that $1,200 per year shall be paid the sole beneficiary (other than a surviving spouse) until a fund of $20,000 and interest which accrues on the remaining balance is exhausted. A guaranteed rate of interest is specified, but excess interest may be credited according to the earnings of the insurer. Assuming that the fund will be exhausted in 20 years if only the guaranteed interest is actually credited, the beneficiary shall exclude $1,000 of each installment received ($20,000 divided by 20) and any installments received, whether by the beneficiary or his estate or beneficiary, in excess of 20 shall be fully included in the gross income of the recipient. If, instead, the excess interest were to be paid each year, any portion of each installment representing an excess over $1,000 would be fully includible in the recipient's gross income. Thus, if an installment of $1,350 were received, $350 of it would be included in gross income.
Example 3.
Assume that the sole life insurance policy of a decedent provides only for the payment of $5,000 per year for the life of his surviving spouse, beginning with the insured's death. If the present value of the proceeds, determined by reference to the interest rate and the mortality table used by the insurance company, is $60,000, and such beneficiary's life expectancy is 20 years, $3,000 of each $5,000 payment ($60,000 divided by 20) is excludable as the prorated portion of the “amount held by an insurer”. For each taxable year in which a payment is made, an additional $1,000 is excludable from the gross income of the surviving spouse. Hence, if she receives only one $5,000 payment in her taxable year, only $1,000 is includible in her gross income in that year with respect to such payment ($5,000 less the total amount excludable, $4,000). Assuming that the policy also provides for payments of $2,000 per year for 10 years to the daughter of the insured, the present value of the payments to the daughter is to be computed separately for the purpose of determining the excludable portion of each payment to her. Assuming that such present value is $15,000, $1,500 of each payment of $2,000 received by the daughter is excludable from her gross income ($15,000 divided by 10). The remaining $500 shall be included in the gross income of the daughter.
Example 4.
Beneficiaries A and B, neither of whom is the surviving spouse of the insured, are each to receive annual payments of $1,800 for each of their respective lives upon the death of the insured. The contract does not provide for payments to be made in any other manner. Assuming that the present value of the payments to be made to A, whose life expectancy according to the insurer's mortality table is 30 years, is $36,000, A shall exclude $1,200 of each payment received ($36,000 divided by 30). Assuming that the present value of the payments to be made to B, whose life expectancy according to the insurer's mortality table is 20 years, is $27,000, B shall exclude $1,350 of each payment received ($27,000 divided by 20).
Example 5.
A life insurance policy provides for the payment of $76,500 in a lump sum to the beneficiary, A, at the death of the insured. Upon the insured's death, however, A selects an option for the payment of $2,000 per year for her life and for the same amount to be paid after her death to B, her daughter, for her life. Assuming that since A is 51 years of age and her daughter is 28 years of age, the insurer determined the amount of the payments by reference to a mortality table under which the life expectancy for the lives of both A and B, joint and survivor, is 51 years, $1,500 of each $2,000 payment to either A or B ($76,500 divided by 51, or $1,500) shall be excluded from the gross income of the recipient. However, if A is the surviving spouse of the insured and no other contracts of insurance whose proceeds are to be paid to her at a date later than death are involved, A shall exclude the entire payment of $2,000 in any taxable year in which she receives but one such payment because of the additional exclusion under section 101(d)(1)(B).
Example 6.
Beneficiaries A and B, neither of whom is the surviving spouse of the insured, are each to receive annual payments of $1,800 for each of their respective lives upon the death of the insured, but after the death of either, the survivor is to receive the payments formerly made to the deceased beneficiary until the survivor dies. Assuming that the life expectancy, joint and survivor, of A and B in accordance with the mortality table used by the insurer is 32 years and assuming that the total present value of the benefits to both (determined in accordance with the interest rate used by the insurer) is $80,000, A and B shall each exclude $1,250 of each installment of $1,800 ($80,000 divided by the life expectancy, 32, multiplied by the fraction of the annual payment payable to each, one-half) until the death of either. Thereafter, the survivor shall exclude $2,500 of each installment of $3,600 ($80,000 divided by 32).
Example 7.
A life insurance policy provides for the payment of $75,000 in a lump sum to the beneficiary, A, at the death of the insured. A, upon the insured's death, however, selects an option for the payment of $4,000 per year for life, with a guarantee that any part of the $75,000 lump sum not paid to A before his death shall be paid to B (or his estate). A's beneficiary. Assuming that, under the criteria used by the insurer in determining the benefits to be paid, the present value of the guaranteed amount to B is $13,500 and that A's life expectancy is 25 years, the lump sum shall be reduced by the present value of the guarantee to B ($75,000 less $13,500, or $61,500) and divided by A's life expectancy ($61,500 divided by 25, or $2,460). Hence, $2,460 of each $4,000 payment is excludable from A's gross income. If A is the surviving spouse of the insured and no other contracts of insurance whose proceeds are to be paid to her at a date later than death are involved, A shall exclude $3,460 of each $4,000 payment from gross income in any taxable year in which but one such payment is received. Under these facts, if any amount is paid to B by reason of the fact that A dies before receiving a total of $75,000, the residue of the lump sum paid to B shall be excluded from B's gross income since it is wholly in lieu of the present value of such guarantee plus the present value of the payments to be made to the first beneficiary, and is therefore entirely an “amount held by an insurer” paid at a date later than death (see paragraph (d)(3) of this section).
Example 8.
Assume that an insurance policy does not provide for the payment of a lump sum, but provides for the payment of $1,200 per year for a beneficiary's life upon the death of the insured, and also provides that if ten payments are not made to the beneficiary before death a secondary beneficiary (whether named by the insured or by the first beneficiary) shall receive the remainder of the ten payments in similar installments. If, according to the criteria used by the insurance company in determining the benefits, the present value of the payments to the first beneficiary is $12,000 and the life expectancy of such beneficiary is 15 years, $800 of each payment received by the first beneficiary is excludable from gross income. Assuming that the same figures obtain even though the payments are to be made at the rate of $100 per month, the yearly exclusion remains the same unless more or less than twelve months' installments are received by the beneficiary in a particular taxable year. In such a case two-thirds of the total received in the particular taxable year with respect to such beneficiary shall be excluded from gross income. Under either of the above alternatives, any amount received by the second beneficiary by reason of the guarantee of ten payments is fully excludable from the beneficiary's gross income since it is wholly in lieu of the present value of such guarantee plus the present value of the payments to be made to the first beneficiary and is therefore entirely an “amount held by an insurer” paid at a date later than death (see paragraph (d)(3) of this section).

(h) Applicability of both section 101(c) and 101(d) to payments under a single life insurance contract -

(1) In general. Section 101(d) shall not apply to interest payments on any amount held by an insurer under an agreement to pay interest thereon (see sections 101(c) and 101(d)(4) and § 1.101-3). On the other hand, both section 101(c) and section 101(d) may be applicable to payments received under a single life insurance contract, if such payments consist both of interest on an amount held by an insurer under an agreement to pay interest thereon and of amounts held by the insurer and paid on a date or dates later than the death of the insured. One instance when both section 101(c) and section 101(d) may be applicable to payments received under a single life insurance contract is in the case of a permanent life insurance policy with a family income rider attached. A typical family income rider is one which provides additional term insurance coverage for a specified number of years from the register date of the basic policy. Under the policy with such a rider, if the insured dies at any time during the term period, the beneficiary is entitled to receive (i) monthly payments of a specified amount commencing as of the date of death and continuing for the balance of the term period, and (ii) a lump sum payment of the proceeds under the basic policy to be paid at the end of the term period. If the insured dies after the expiration of the term period, the beneficiary receives only the proceeds under the basic policy. If the insured dies before the expiration of the term period, part of each monthly payment received by the beneficiary during the term period consists of interest on the proceeds of the basic policy (such proceeds being retained by the insurer until the end of the term period). The remaining part consists of an installment (principal plus interest) of the proceeds of the terms insurance purchased under the family income rider. The amount of term insurance which is provided under the family income rider is, therefore, that amount which, at the date of the insured's death, will provide proceeds sufficient to fund such remaining part of each monthly payment. Since the proceeds under the basic policy are held by the insurer until the end of the term period, that portion of each monthly payment which consists of interest on such proceeds is interest on an amount held by an insurer under an agreement to pay interest thereon and is includible in gross income under section 101(c). On the other hand, since the remaining portion of each monthly payment consists of an installment payment (principal plus interest) of the proceeds of the term insurance, it is a payment of an amount held by the insurer and paid on a date later than the death of the insured to which section 101(d) and this section applies (including the $1,000 exclusion allowed the surviving spouse under section 101(d)(1)(B)). The proceeds of the basic policy, when received in a lump sum at the end of the term period, are excludable from gross income under section 101(a).

(2) Example of tax treatment of amounts received under a family income rider. The following example illustrates the application of the principles contained in subparagraph (1) of this paragraph to payments received under a permanent life insurance policy with a family income rider attached:

Example.
The sole life insurance policy of the insured provides for the payment of $100,000 to the beneficiary (the insured's spouse) on his death. In addition, there is attached to the policy a family income rider which provides that, if the insured dies before the 20th anniversary of the basic policy, the beneficiary shall receive (i) monthly payments of $1,000 commencing on the date of the insured's death and ending with the payment prior to the 20th anniversary of the basic policy, and (ii) a single payment of $100,000 payable on the 20th anniversary of the basic policy. On the date of the insured's death, the beneficiary (surviving spouse of the insured) is entitled to 36 monthly payments of $1,000 and to the single payment of $100,000 on the 20th anniversary of the basic policy. The value of the proceeds of the term insurance at the date of the insured's death is $28,409.00 (the present value of the portion of the monthly payments to which section 101(d) applies computed on the basis that the interest rate used by the insurer in determining the benefits to be paid under the contract is 2 1/4 percent). The amount of each monthly payment of $1,000 which is includible in the beneficiary's gross income is determined in the following manner:
(a) Total amount of monthly payment $1,000.00
(b) Amount includible in gross income under section 101(c) as interest on the $100,000 proceeds under the basic policy held by the insurer until 20th anniversary of the basic policy (computed on the basis that the interest rate used by the insurer in determining the benefits to be paid under the contract is 2 1/4 percent) 185.00
(c) Amount to which section 101(d) applies ((a) minus (b)) 815.00
(d) Amount excludable from gross income under section 101(d) ($28,409 ÷ 36) 789.14
(e) Amount includible in gross income under section 101(d) without taking into account the $1,000 exclusion allowed the beneficiary as the surviving spouse ((c) minus (d)) 25.86
The beneficiary, as the surviving spouse of the insured, is entitled to exclude the amounts otherwise includible in gross income under section 101(d) (item (e)) to the extent such amounts do not exceed $1,000 in the taxable year of receipt. This exclusion is not applicable, however, with respect to the amount of each payment which is includible in gross income under section 101(c) (item (b)). In this example, therefore, the beneficiary must include $185 of each monthly payment in gross income (amount includible under section 101(c)), but may exclude the $25.86 which is otherwise includible under section 101(d). The payment of $100,000 which is payable to the beneficiary on the 20th anniversary of the basic policy will be entirely excludable from gross income under section 101(a).

(3) Limitation on amount considered to be an “amount held by an insurer”. See paragraph (b)(3) of this section for a limitation on the amount which shall be considered an “amount held by an insurer” in the case of proceeds of life insurance which are paid subsequent to the transfer of the policy for a valuable consideration.

(4) Effective date. The provisions of this paragraph are applicable only with respect to amounts received during taxable years beginning after October 28, 1961, irrespective of the date of the death of the insured.

[T.D. 6500, 25 FR 11402, Nov. 26, 1960, as amended by T.D. 6577, 26 FR 10127, Oct. 28, 1961; 26 FR 10275, Nov. 2, 1961]