Life insurance: Keeping records and assigning a beneficiary

Aug 03, 2011

Wills and beneficiary forms are often the most important pieces of information to a policy holder.

It's easy to think estate and inheritance planning can be shelved once a will has been written, but many fail to realize the importance of a few other critical documents, including the beneficiary form. It's one of the most important certificates on the life insurer's desk, according to the Wall Street Journal.

"According to the National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators, state treasurers currently hold $32.9 billion in unclaimed bank accounts and other assets," the WSJ reported - much of which is likely due to an incomplete life insurance policy.

Because buyers are not required to designate a specific party as your beneficiary, the form is often taken blithely enough that many don't remember whom they listed when they first opened accounts. Those who omit it completely are defaulted to the terms of their will, but problems still arise since they're not always clear.

Coverage holders are discouraged from submitting property to minors, as their vulnerability and general lack of financial knowledge may result in misfortunes such as scams or frivolous expenditures.

Other relevant texts include bank accounts, healthcare and proof of ownership, all of which necessarily supplement components of life insurance packages that are evidently never free from mistakes and misinformation.

Checking in with a carrier and keeping records of every piece of literature can ensure no entry will go unacknowledged when the time comes for things to take effect.

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