DEFINITION of 'Waterfall Concept'
A life insurance plan that provides a tax benefit in regards to intergenerational transfers of wealth. The concept occurs when a tax-exempt insurance policy is rolled over to a child or a grandchild. The origin of this term is derived from the fact that this insurance plan is similar to waterfalls in that it only flows downwards.
BREAKING DOWN 'Waterfall Concept'
The tax benefit occurs when the initial insurance policy is rolled over to the child or grandchild. After the transfer there are no more tax breaks, and so any funds that are withdrawn from the policy are subject to normal tax liability. However, clients can implement different variations on the waterfall concept to meet different objectives.