From the Life Files

Friday, April 24, 2015
So about 30 years ago, my since-retired colleague wrote a policy on a 30 year old client (whom we'll call Gene). Gene's wife was named as the beneficiary, and all was well.

A few years - and two children - later, Gene and his wife divorced, and Gene changed the beneficiary of his policy to his brother.

Problem is, he never told his brother (or his kids) that he was doing so. Recently, Gene passed away, and his ex-wife called me to inquire about the policy. I called the home office and confirmed that a) he did, in fact, have a policy (and it was in force) and b) his brother was the beneficiary (again, news to all of us).

Fortunately, the brother lives relatively close by, and was in town attending to the funeral arrangements and such. I was able to connect with him, and we met yesterday to complete the claims paperwork (we're still awaiting the official death certificate, without which the claim can't be paid).

That's when I learned that not only did Gene never tell his brother about the policy, but that he died without a will (aka intestate for all you legal-beagles). The brother had no idea what Gene wanted to do with the proceeds of the policy (well, the balance after final expenses), nor of his house or other belongings. He's decided that he'll just divvy up the balance with his nieces once all the (modest) estate costs are settled.

This is just so sad: Gene died alone, and never made his wishes known to those that were (ostensibly) closest to him. I suppose there's a lesson here, somewhere, but danged if I know what it is. Any suggestions?