Chelsey Tucker graduated with a Bachelor of History degree from Metropolitan State University in 2019. She now writes about insurance with her specialty being life insurance and has been quoted on Help Smart Phone and MEL Magazine.

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Dan Walker graduated with a BS in Administrative Management in 2005 and has been working in his family’s insurance agency, FCI Agency, for 15 years. He is licensed as an agent to write property and casualty insurance, including home, auto, umbrella, and dwelling fire insurance. He’s also been featured on sites like

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Reviewed by Daniel Walker
Licensed Auto Insurance Agent

UPDATED: Mar 19, 2020

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Survivorship Life InsuranceLast survivor life insurance is also called survivorship life insurance, although neither name is really self explanatory.

Although both terms refer to a survivor or last survivor, this type of life insurance pays out only after there are no survivors left.

Basically, last survivor life insurance is used by spouses for estate planning purposes and is a way to help ease the financial burden of estate taxes placed on your heirs.

Read on to learn how survivorship life insurance policies work and then if you want to compare free survivorship life insurance quotes along with regular life insurance quotes just enter your zip above to find the very best insurance!

Traditional Life Insurance Instead of Survivorship Life Insurance

Many spouses purchase life insurance for each other whether they have children or not. Usually each spouse pays for a life insurance policy and lists the other spouse as the beneficiary. This way, when one spouse dies the remaining spouse receives the death benefit. While there are benefits to this, such as not having to pay estate taxes during the second spouse’s survival, there are disadvantages as well. The biggest disadvantage is the cost of maintaining premiums on two separate whole life insurance policies.

Depending on how old you are when you buy your life insurance, you could easily spend $50 every month for each spouse for a simple $10,000 life insurance policy. This ends up being very expensive and a benefit of that low nature may not even be enough to cover funeral costs, let alone prepare for estate planning. Last Survivor Life Insurance works a little differently and can help reduce premium costs as well as aid in future estate taxation.

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How Last Survivor Life Insurance (Survivorship Life Insurance) Works

Instead of purchasing individual whole life insurance policies, spouses have an option of buying Last Survivor Life Insurance. With this type of survivorship life insurance policy, the benefit does not get paid out until both spouses die, leaving the estate as the beneficiary. The biggest disadvantage to this kind of life insurance policy is there is no instant benefit for a surviving spouse.

Depending on your financial situation and your heirs, such as the financial provider dies first and leaves the spouse financially unsecure with several small children, this could be problematic. However, there are several advantages to this insurance as well, which may provide more benefits in the long run.

A Last Survivor Life Insurance policy is less expensive than a traditional whole life insurance policy, so you can save money every month on your insurance premiums, which can be very beneficial since whole life insurance policies can be fairly expensive. However, the biggest advantage of survivorship life insurance is how it helps in estate planning. The next section of this article will explain this benefit in a little more detail.

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Estate Taxes and Last Survivor Life Insurance

Estate taxes are expensive and unavoidable. Some people are under the notion that estate taxes do not apply to spouses because when one spouse dies the surviving spouse is not required to pay estate taxes. The fact of this, however, is that the estate taxes are not null and void; they are merely delayed until the time the surviving spouse also dies. At that time, all estate taxes will come due. This is where Last Survivor Life Insurance can help in estate planning, once both spouses have died, the estate taxes will come due on the total value of the entire estate.

Estate taxes are very hefty, currently at 55%, which is why many heirs end up having to sell their parents’ house and liquidate other assets. It is the only way they can come up with the cash to pay off the estate taxes, which are usually due in approximately nine months of the surviving spouse’s death. Since a survivorship life insurance policy does not pay out a death benefit to a surviving spouse and rather saves the benefit to pay to the heirs, this money can usually be used to help offset some, if not all, of the estate taxes that will be due.

There will be some relief for estate taxes in 2010 as Congress released a taxpayer relief for estate planning this year. However, the 55% taxation is said to return in 2011, so the estate taxation relief is short lived and estate planning is still a necessary consideration for anyone who has heirs. Whole life insurance is a viable option for assisting spouses and children with financial support, but Last Survivor Life Insurance is also an option to help relieve the financial burden of estate taxes.

Last Survivor Life Insurance Quotes

It is a good idea to speak with an estate planning professional in order to determine which choice is best for you and your family. However, you can get an idea of how much survivorship life insurance will cost by shopping for free online now and requesting rates from various life insurance providers. Enter your zip code in for free last survivor life insurance quotes!