Thursday, June 14, 2018

Death - Life Insurance – Beneficiaries

This is not a post to discuss the sadness of everyone concerning the recent passing of Anthony Bourdain, nor a post to discuss his accolades, nor a post to discuss the wonder he was, but it is a post questioning the steps a person needs to take while living in order to protect and care for his or her loved ones left behind.

In the shower this morning, I was cleaning one of the tile shelves that sticks out of the corner of the shower stall and in the back of my mind (it’s cray cray back there sometimes) I imagined slipping and hitting my head so hard on that shelf I died right there (see, cray cray back there).  This thought caused me to be a little more careful and try not to slip though.  It also caused me to think about my life insurance policy and how there’s no instructions to my kids, the beneficiaries of said life insurance policy, on what to do with the money they’d receive if I was no longer here.

I don’t have many assets at this point in my life, but I’m debt free.  I have a little cash and some beater cars, some tools and some rifles, and these assets could be easily distributed to whoever wanted them without much instruction.  What I do “have”, however, is a $900k Term Life Insurance Policy that has my 3 kids listed as beneficiaries.  I don’t have a will.

Here’s some details of my kids:

Daughter – 21 – full-time college student (senior next year) 2 years paid for completely – third year paid mostly – but I think she’ll come out with a small student loan, thinks she needs to build a credit score and has a credit card with the clothing store where she works part time and a credit card with her bank, both of which she pays off each month, has her own car with a small loan, pays her own bills, lives near her mother in PA at her boyfriend’s parents’ house.

Son – 18 – currently living with his mother in PA (he was full time with me after the divorce, but was messing up in school so we made a change in his home life this school year in hopes of him graduating, which he barely did), currently NOT working, driving one of my beater cars, not going to school and no plans right now to do so.

Son – 14 – similar to son-18, currently living with his mother in PA for better school guidance after being full time with me, gamer, skateboarder, getting ready to enter a computer education program running co-currently with his high school program.

So, where do I go, what do I do at this point, to direct how/where the life insurance money goes?  Do I leave it up to the kids in the case of the daughter and oldest son, and the probate court in the case of my youngest son?  Do I set up a trust to direct how the money gets used and how do I do this?  Do I somehow set up the money to be invested so they receive monthly checks from the interest?

What do I do?  How should I go about this?  How have you set up your will?


  1. Can't answer those questions for you Brian, but I do suggest you get a will. It will be cheaper, quicker and less stressful for your family if you get a will, rather than what would happen if you die without one.

    Additionally, much like your life insurance policy, it may not be a bad idea to have named beneficiaries to your investment accounts in case something were to happen to you. That will reduce the impact of you not having a will, which I definitely suggest you do.

    Right now, I'm not married, and so my mom is the main beneficiary of my will. I did leave a little to my siblings, but I don't have that much anyway. The big though is the life insurance policy that I have, which is less than yours, but it all goes to my mom!

    Good luck with whatever you decide.

  2. DP, thanks for the reply. I'm still thinking about the will and how I can go about setting it up. The investment account has beneficiaries set up already.


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