Source: Sherman Publications

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Prudential Insurance: A column by Darwin Moore
Prepare now for when a loved one dies

August 31, 2011

September is Life Insurance Awareness Month, which makes it the ideal time to think about life insurance needs.

This effort is an unprecedented collaboration among companies, agencies, associations and individual agents committed to a single goal to help millions of Americans understand and obtain the life insurance coverage they need.

A time of personal loss can be devastating emotionally and financially. And while many people have provided for their families by purchasing life insurance, they tend to avoid talking about it with their loved ones.

So, here are some basic steps to help your loved ones be better prepared when the time comes to find important policy information or file a death claim. Here's what you can do to make an otherwise difficult time in life a little bit easier:

As a policyholder:

Keep all beneficiary designations up-to-date and on file with your insurer. Not doing this can slow down the benefits claim process and send the payment to your estate or to someone other than whom you intended. Events such as marriage, birth, adoption or death often necessitate a beneficiary change.

Keep premium payments current. Otherwise, a loved one may receive a reduced benefit, or in worst cases, no benefit at all.

Understand your own life insurance portfolio and share it with selected loved ones.

As a loved one during a time of loss:

Be prepared with policy information (policy number(s), addresses of any beneficiaries and, in most cases, a certified death certificate).

Ask the insurer if there are other policies on record for the deceased.

Contact the individual's insurance professional, financial or personal advisor.

Consult the individual's checkbook, bank statements or credit card bills for payments to insurance companies.

Small steps to prepare for the unexpected now can make things easier in what may be one of the most trying times a family can go through.

Provided courtesy of Prudential. For more information, contact Darwin Moore, a Financial Professional Associate with The Prudential Insurance Company of America's Great Lakes agency located in Clarkston. Call 248-688-3671 or email