I have a 84 yr old Aunt in a facility NY who has serious health issues and appears her health is declining. We live in NC and are unable to get information from her on if she has any life insurance. She is coherent, but not very cooperative in providing information. We want to be prepared for final expenses. What is the best way to approach this?
I am sorry to hear that your Aunt is declining in health. I also understand the challenges of being out of state and trying to be prepared with little information to go on. I have a few suggestions for you, and not sure if all would apply but I’ll offer them and see if any are useful to you.
• The care facility she is in may have some information, depending on her financial situation when she was admitted there. However, they may be reluctant give information to any person not previously authorized to receive it. If you have any idea if her costs for the facility are being covered by state resources (such as Medicaid) then it is unlikely she has any significant policies, as Medicaid usually prohibits ownership of anything with cash value.
• Is there anyone assisting your Aunt (family, friend) locally? If so, that person may know enough or have access to her important papers to indicate to you if there are any insurance policies, or not.
• If she retired from a company, it is possible part of her retirement includes a death benefit to be paid to her beneficiary at the time of death.
• Do you know where she will be buried (or cremated), and if she owns any cemetery spaces? If so, you could contact that cemetery to see what costs will be involved and see what she perhaps has paid in advance.
• Along with that, you could contact the funeral home you think you will use and get their price list and/or speak with a funeral director so there are no surprises there. This will help you to know the amount of money that will be needed to for her final expenses.
I hope this helps a little, and I wish you the best as you and your family go through this process.
Thank you, this is very helpful! I have another question, any advice on purchasing burial insurance, given she is out of state?
I am glad this was helpful to you, and hope you are able to find some answers.
As for your question, purchasing burial insurance for your Aunt at this point probably won’t help you much. Burial policies almost always have what is called a “graded death benefit” which means that the face value of the policy won’t pay out in full until the policy has been in force for a certain period of time, usually 2 to 3 years depending on the age of the insured. If death occurred in under 2 years, the policy generally only pays out the premiums paid in.
Also, she would likely be declined for insurance coverage due to her age and being in a care facility.
For these reasons, I believe it would be much better for you to start setting aside any sum of money you can in a savings account rather than pursue insurance for her. Some funeral homes may offer payment arrangements for their services (it certainly wouldn’t hurt to ask if you contact one) but if she will be buried in a cemetery, be aware that it is standard practice that cemetery require charges be paid prior to the burial.
I certainly wish I had better answers for you, but you are definitely helping yourself by looking into this now.