Life insurance: the benefits of joint underwriting


Taking out a life insurance policy together allows married couples to preserve the surviving spouse’s purchasing power. An unknown mode of membership to discover.

Manage your assets as a duo, with confidence: for some couples, everything must be shared, including investments! The joint subscription of life insurance offers them the ideal tool. Also called co-membership, it consists of two people subscribing to a single contract which will be fed by common funds.

Widespread until the early 2000s (thousands of married couples still hold a joint subscription contract today), the practice has somewhat dried up, particularly since the Tepa law of 2007 exempting the surviving spouse from succession.

However, if you are married under the community regime (like 90% of couples), opening a joint life insurance policy is an option to consider. There are two scenarios.

First-to-die outcome

In practice, insurers limit co-subscription with settlement on the first death to couples married under the community regime: the death capital becomes the property of the surviving spouse, even if the funds saved come from the money common to the spouses. (1).

Most often, the beneficiary clause is divided between the surviving spouse who obtains the usufruct of the capital and the children who recover the bare ownership: the capital received by the surviving spouse will be returned to their children upon their death under tax conditions. favorable.

Our opinion: the spouses must agree on the management of the savings for this contract which requires the double signature for each operation: payment, redemption, arbitration and especially beneficiary clause. The latter cannot be modified without the agreement of the other. This is a major difference compared to two separate contracts for which neither spouse has the guarantee that the other will not subsequently modify the beneficiary clause for the benefit of a foreign person.

Good to know : this binding formalism of the double signature prevents most online operations.

Outcome on second death

Co-subscription settled on the second death is aimed at couples married under the universal community regime, with a clause granting full community to the surviving spouse or a preciput clause. On the death of the first spouse, the contract continues and continues to bear fruit.

Advantage: the tax anteriority of the contract is preserved, particularly useful if the surviving spouse is over 70 years old. When he in turn dies, the beneficiaries (children, for example) will receive the death benefits.

Our opinion: if the settlement on the second death protects the surviving spouse, the children only benefit once from the reduction of 152,500 euros on inheritance tax instead of twice if the two spouses had each opened a life insurance contract . Another disadvantage: in the event of divorce, the life insurance will have to be liquidated, co-management becoming difficult. Similarly, if one of the spouses becomes “incapable” and finds himself under guardianship, management becomes frankly problematic.

(1) Except in the case of clearly demanded premiums.

Split co-subscription

Olivier Rozenfeld, president of Fidroit, highlights the dismembered co-subscription: “At the opening of the contract, there is a usufructuary subscriber and a bare owner subscriber. Attention, he warns, the bare owner must be the insured of the contract and the usufructuary, for his part, must be designated beneficiary in usufruct because he could find himself excluded from the benefit of the contract.

A sophisticated asset package with great potential to be reserved for a few specific situations.

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