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benefits left to step children

My husband died 5 months ago and a life insurance policy he had taken out 30 years ago, when he divorced, benefited his abusive adult children.  I did not know about this policy, he had apparently forgotten about it, and the company he worked for never notified us either.  There was nothing in his will or the safety deposit box about it. So I found out about it after his death, when I got the claim forms.  But none for me.  So I am very troubled by this, because I could have used the money to pay for his final expenses.  Of course I sent the wretched adult children the claim forms, but had I known he had these beneficiaries named, I would have asked him if he could transfer that policy to me, as his illness was about to put him on Medicaid.  

AARP Expert

@MaryV401797 , I'm so sorry about your husband's passing.  And, I'm sorry to hear about the added stress caused by the insurance proceeds.  We frequently see unintended or downright unfair results like this with old accounts or outdated wills.  It's easy to forget about accounts or have good intentions to amend beneficiaries, but then never get to that on our to-do lists.   I'm as guilty of it as the next person! 


A good practice we all should implement is to keep an inventory of all our accounts, including how they are titled (do you own it alone or with someone else) and whether you have beneficiaries named on them (and who they are).  Once a year, around tax-time, take a look at the inventory to make sure it's still in line with your wishes of who will inherit from your assets after you pass.  


I know it doesn't soften the blow for you, but I thank you so much for sharing your story.  My hope is that it prompts someone who reads this to do that double-check and maybe prevent a similar situation from happening with their loved ones.  


Wishing you better days ahead,


Amanda Singleton
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Honored Social Butterfly

I’m really sorry. That’s so difficult. There’s such an emotional tie to money left after death. It just brings up all sorts of feelings.  😞

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