Friday, February 14, 2020

My Own Life Insurance Story Part 1

My father died this past Sunday. He was the kind of person who would never answer questions when it came to his personal finances. When I would mention life insurance he would grunt something like "There's plenty for you, don't worry about it." Unfortunately, there wasn't plenty for anyone.

After spending hours going through his personal effects, my sister and I found a few inklings of policies here and there. The face amounts looked extremely low, like $1000 kind of low. Some of the policies were paid up in the 1970's (not a good sign) and in it all, there was no rhyme or reason to any of it.

I cobbled together any and all evidence of policies that could be in effect and took them to the funeral home where my father had "pre-planned" his wishes. And that's all they were. Wishes. No contracts had be signed, not a deposit or anything else. He had chosen his casket (a very expensive one) and a few other items, and had been given a price. The funeral director did his best to honor those prices, but inflation had taken it's toll. He told us he would give the insurance information to a lady in his office who would do some investigating.

When my mother-in-law passed away several years ago, she had a policy for $75k. We signed a few forms to assign the policy to the funeral home. The insurance company got their share and the remainder of the policy went to the beneficiaries. It was a seamless process and worked marvelously. 

Not this time though. The lady at the funeral home was thorough and did lots of research. We found out that two of the polices, one of which was paid up and the other in good standing, both hadn't had a beneficiary update in years. My mother as well as my paternal grandmother, were both listed as beneficiaries and were both long dead.

Yet another policy, which was in force and up to date, had by father's business as a beneficiary. The business had been shut down three years earlier.

In Part 2, I'll give you more of this story.

Chris Castanes is the president of Surf Financial Brokers, as well as a professional speaker helping sales people be more productive and efficient. 

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