Universal life insurance policies written decades ago, when the average life expectancy was lower and interest rates were higher, are now causing headaches for financial advisors when planning for their clients' trusts and estates.

The affected policies written in the 1980s and 1990s were priced based on an assumed interest rate, with rates at the time topping 15%. Clients could pick an interest rate assumption -- often 10% to 12%, which seemed like a conservative range at the time -- and pay a lower premium.

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