Some of the largest insurance carriers in the United States have agreed to pay over $7.5 billion in back benefits. Is any of that due to you?
Last April, the news program 60 Minutes investigated the insurance industry’s practice of not paying the benefit under a life insurance policy until the family or beneficiary actually contacted the carrier. This practice resulted in millions of unpaid policies, even though the insured person has passed away.
The most unsettling aspect of the investigation is that the companies knew the person had died. Many of the companies use the government’s “Death Master File” (since Social Security is always made aware of a person’s passing). Thus the companies knew the person is deceased, yet failed to take measures to pay the benefit. Even worse, in some instances, the insurance company continued to take the premiums from the policy’s cash value.
The good news is the 25 companies that have settled will take proactive measures to seek out the beneficiaries via phone. So may get a call regarding long lost Uncle Bob’s policy, and that you have some money coming to you.
This leads to the importance of getting and staying organized. All of your assets, especially ones like life insurance, should be listed within your estate planning portfolio (don’t have an estate planning portfolio? You can call us and meet with one of our attorney who can help establish your plan). This way, when something happens to you, your loved ones or those that are administering your estate will have a good idea of what you own and who to contact.
With a little organization, your family won’t have to worry that your policy will be “lost”. And hopefully, with this spot light on the insurance industry, they will make the necessary changes to fill in the gaps with the policy you may have “forgotten” about.
Contributed by Morris Hall PLLC Albuquerque, Santa Fe and Las Cruces Estate Planning Attorney and Partner, James P. Plitz.
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You have a number of options when it comes to estate planning, so why pick Morris Hall? First off, estate planning and asset protection are a very complicated endeavor and you should only trust someone who focuses exclusively on those matters. Also, Morris Hall is a proud member of The American Academy of Estate Planning Attorneys (AAEPA) which provides us additional support, advanced training, tools and information that is not available to others – which means that we can better protect your assets and your loved ones. We are one of only three firms in Arizona that belong to the AAEPA and are the only firm in New Mexico that has been granted membership. If you have assets and loved ones that you want to protect, you are in good hands with Morris Hall. Contact us today at 888.222.1328 to schedule an appointment!
This blog should be used for informational purposes only. It does not create an attorney-client relationship with any reader and should not be construed as legal advice. If you need legal advice, please contact an attorney in your community who can assess the specifics of your situation.