I cannot stress enough the importance of updating the beneficiary designation on your life insurance policy. So many people simply forget to change the designated beneficiary when they experience a death, marriage, divorce or other major life event. As a result, the insured’s intended beneficiaries have to fight for what the insured would have wanted them to have. This often requires the beneficiaries to commence legal action, the outcome of which is uncertain. Although I just settled a case where my client ended up with a 6 figure settlement despite the decedent’s failure to update the beneficiary designation on his life insurance policy, the outcome is not always so positive and the emotional and monetary costs of litigation can take quite a toll on a beneficiary. The best way to avoid this is to be sure that the people you want as beneficiaries are, in fact, named on your beneficiary designation form. Don’t accept a verbal confirmation from the insurer. Instead, contact your insurer and ask for a copy of the most recent designation form on file.
Linda M. Toga of The Law Offices of Linda M. Toga, P.C. is an East Setauket, New York attorney with a general law practice focusing on estate planning, real estate, marital planning, small business services and litigation.