Name your children as beneficiaries on your life insurance policies.

Posted November 7th, 2016.

Categories: Child Custody, Custody Tips, Family Law.

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When was the last time you checked the designated beneficiary on your life insurance policy? Have you named your children as beneficiaries in the event of your untimely death?

Parents who separate or divorce often forget to update their life insurance policies. If this is the case, you should remove your former spouse (or other person) as the beneficiary and name your children as the new beneficiaries. In the alternative, you might name your children as the beneficiaries, while appointing the other parent (or another person) to serve as the trustee over the insurance proceeds if you should die while the children are still minors.

More than once, sloppy parents have failed to update their life insurance policies and other estate papers, and have inadvertently left their insurance proceeds to ex-husbands, ex-wives, or to other persons. Be sure to consider ALL of your life insurance policies, not just the policy you purchased from the insurance broker. For example, you may be entitled to life insurance coverage as a benefit from your employer, or you may have a policy through a mortgage company or credit lender, or through a labor union, a professional association or other organization to which you belong. Military veterans and other former government employees may also have certain valuable life insurance benefits. Double-check your “designation of beneficiary” forms to ensure that you have protected your children with life insurance coverage.

In a child custody dispute, the fact that you maintain up-to-date whole life, term life or universal life coverage will be further evidence of your serious commitment to protect and support the children. By contrast, a custodial or non-custodial parent, who has not taken this initiative, or who has not updated her beneficiaries to name the children, will be in a weaker position on this issue.

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