Life Insurance is For the Living…Not the Dead – guest post by Dan Morrison

Dan 2012 LA My father passed away at the age of 56 in October of 1987. He had, for the majority of his working life, sold health and life insurance. He was nominally successful at it, but neglected to purchase any for himself. I am unaware if he chose this due to neglect or that his overall health prevented him from obtaining any coverage except a burial policy.

Needless to say, his failure to obtain adequate coverage made it extremely difficult for his wife (my step-mother) to financially survive. She, of course, had income from his residuals and survivors benefits from Social Security, but the financial stress of his final illness and his death cast an un-needed pall over his already grieving family.

Life insurance is not for the dead, it is for the living.

I am not a licensed attorney, but I do know the critical importance of adequate life insurance to provide for a spouse and surviving children. Life insurance equals “options” for the surviving family members, more so if there are surviving special needs children. I would imagine that a married couple with a special needs child should have, in addition to adequate life insurance, a Last Will and Testament that stipulates, in writing, how care for the special needs child will be set up in the event of a common disaster.

Common sense and due diligence dictate that legal documents be done by a qualified, licensed attorney who has experience in estate planning and for provision concerning the myriad issues with a special needs child. A qualified attorney can be most helpful not only with wills, but also a Durable Power of Attorney for each spouse, a Health Care Directive for each spouse, a Health Care Power of Attorney and a Special Needs Trust.

A wise plan for parents of a special needs child must include adequate life insurance and proper drafting of legal documents to insure the ongoing care of the surviving children. There is obviously a cost to good legal counsel and obtaining insurance, but the peace of mind it provides is priceless.

For further information you can contact your state’s insurance commissioner. The local bar association is another option for obtaining a referral. Don’t forget that some large church denominations have resources such as Lutheran’s Thrivent Financial http://www.thrivent.com and the Southern Baptist GuideStone Financial Resources http://www.guidestone.org. Also, Financial Advisor Dave Ramsey has information on insurance on his website http://www.daveramsey.com.

Please don’t neglect this vitally important aspect of caring for the future needs of your child.

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