This recent Wall Street Journal article is a reminder of the importance of making sure that, after your death, your beneficiaries can easily find any life insurance policies payable upon your death.
As the article reports, MetLife is the most recent insurance company to agree -- in response to a multi-state probe -- to review its policy records for unpaid death benefits and make those payments, belatedly, to the beneficiaries. According to the article, the total amount of unpaid benefits may exceed $400 million.
The lessons for clients are simple, but worth repeating:
(1) Keep a thorough record of all of your assets, including insurance policies and other non-probate assets;
(2) Keep that record and any policies where they will be found after your death -- you might keep them with a copy of your Will; and
(3) Provide your trust and estate counsel or other appropriate advisers with a complete list of assets, which can be kept in your file and referenced after your death. Keep it up to date.
On our Client Resources page, you will find an Estate Planning Questionnaire, which is a good way to get started on building that record, for you and for your file here.
If you have questions or would like to discuss this further, please let us know.