Life insurance commonly is used to provide some financial security for your spouse and then your children, passing it down a generation.
But you may aging parents to consider as well. You may need to pass money up a generation.
Assess their financial condition. Are they in a position to support themselves indefinitely? What would be the impact of one or both of them needing assisted living or nursing home care?
Suppose your widowed mother lives in a continuing care community, paying $3,000 per month, and you are a co-signer of that obligation. Your life insurance needs would have to include the possibility that your mother will outlive you and need the money for ongoing payments.
What life expectancy should you assume for this sort of calculation? In general, your projections should assume that your parents will live to age 90 or to five years older than any ancestor, whichever is longer.