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Important Information Regarding Life Insurance / Divorce and the NEED to Protect Your Children!

Dad and Child

 

I read the article about changing your will after a divorce “Your Ex Could Profit From Your Death Unless You Update Your Will” and it prompted me to tell my story dealing with divorce, children and life insurance.  My hope is that after reading my story, people will understand the importance of having life insurance and most importantly choosing beneficiaries wisely.

I’m a 31 year old single mother of a 4 and 7 year old from Louisiana. I have been officially divorced for 2 years now and currently work in the insurance industry and have for the past twelve years.

I met my ex in 2001 and we married in 2005. We were blessed with two boys and shared joint custody of his son from a previous marriage.

We purchased life insurance to protect our assets and most importantly, to protect our children’s future. Due to unfortunate events, our marriage began its heartbreaking journey of divorce in 2010.  At that time our children were 14, 4 and 1.  The divorce was rather easy as we both used one lawyer and agreed on our own terms and conditions of the divorce.  This is where I made one of the biggest mistakes of my life.  Upon meeting with our lawyer to discuss how the paperwork would read, we were both asked if we had life insurance and if we wanted to include the life insurance in the divorce decree. Simontaneously we answered no that we would not change the policies and agreed it was to protect our children should anything happen to one of us.

We agreed to 60/40 Joint Custody  and he was a very active father in their lives. He helped coach on the baseball team, paid half of the children’s bills, helped with anything they needed. He was an all around outstanding father.

He remarried in March 2013 and without my knowledge changed the beneficiary at that time to his current wife. Unfortunately, he passed away in an auto accident in June of 2013. His current wife was 100% beneficiary and received $500,000 in life insurance proceeds. Since his death, there have not been any signs or proof of any trust or education fund set up for his 3 children and from actions made, I highly doubt there ever will be.

Since his death, I have been named the Administratrix of his estate. The life insurance is completely separate and does not go through succession. His estate, which is what will be divided to his 3 children is bankrupt because it is dealing with 95% of his debt and will leave his children little to nothing.  It is almost impossible to fight a beneficiary because it is a contract between an individual and a company in which the individual agrees and signs.

The reason for my story is so that everyone is aware that when designating life insurance beneficiaries, there are steps you can take to protect your children AND your partner. This is especially important when protecting children from a previous marriage. There are options to list more than one beneficiary and you can do so by listing percentages to each.  You may also list minor children and set up trusts. There are also other options that you should speak to your insurance agent about depending on your current life situation.

With divorce growing rampant, and children coping with broken homes, please make sure you take the time to protect them in the event of your death. Please do not make mistake of thinking it will never happen to you. Do your duty as a parent and protect your children from the unthinkable. Even someone you believe you can trust may not fulfill your wishes when it comes to a lump sum of money. There are many ways you can protect  your children and your spouse as well.

I hope, if anything, you have been moved and/or educated enough to make informed decisions and protect your children. If I have moved or educated one person with my story, then I have done my job.

 

 


 

 

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Tiffany Lockwood McInnis

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