Though many regard it as a necessity, life insurance is a topic that makes people cringe--whether it is fear of their own death; the complexity of the system; or simply the unsavory posture of eager salespeople. The subject often is met with skepticism, confusion, and resentment. Although it is considered a fundamental part of American finance, many people find it easier to avoid the topic entirely.
According to financial planner David Kottler--author of The Best Kept Money Secret in Your Insurance Policy--it needs to be part of the national conversation because "billions of dollars in life insurance benefits stemming from long neglected or unknown life insurance policies are everywhere. It's an enormous waste of resources."
Thousands of individuals have life insurance policies they are not aware of, as it is estimated nationwide that at least $10,000,000,000 in benefits go unpaid annually. Either unneeded or unaffordable, life insurance policies worth more than $57,000,000,000 of face value are lapsed by seniors over age 65 each year--and that only includes universal and variable life policies. If all life policies were included, the number that are lapsed would have a face value of $112,000,000,000. Too few understand they may be able to cash out with a "life settlement," or sale of an existing life insurance policy to a third party.
"Life insurance products have a lot of fine print and people do not understand their rights," Kottler indicates. "Only...