Recent publications geared to tax and estate planning professionals have touted the advantages of Charitable Remainder Trusts ("CRT"), combined with life insurance, to accomplish tax, retirement, wealth replacement and charitable giving objectives. See, for example, the September 4, 2014 WRMarketplace, created for Association for Advanced Life Underwriting members, titled "Tax-Smart Diversification: Charitable Remainder Trusts & Life Insurance"; and the July 2014 edition of Trusts & Estates, titled "A Resurgence in Charitable Trusts."
We are hearing more about CRT's primarily because of increased income tax rates, which affect earned income, capital gains, and now net investment income. Throw in state income tax, and income tax rates can be as high as 50%. CRT's can help avoid or delay all of these taxes, and when combined with life insurance, can also help with retirement planning and wealth replacement in the event of a premature death. Charity also benefits because, at the end of the CRT, assets pass to charity.
Although there is now a "resurgence" in CRT's, often combined with life insurance, the strategy is not new. To read more about the strategy and life insurance and whether it is appropriate for your planning, below is a link to an article I wrote on this subject, which was originally published in 2008, in Advancing Philanthropy, a publication for the charitable planning community.