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Life insurance companies stand ready to cut the large check you want them to in the event of your passing. In far more instances than you can imagine the companies are never given the chance to come through for your beneficiaries because, you neglected to tell them about the insurance or neglected to tell them where you keep your policy or policies.

Ensuring the payout is just a matter of communication. Again using myself and my bride as an example, I have made sure that she knows what I have in force and where the policies are. We occasionally review it so I’m sure she would know what to do if I passed away.

There are two reasons I emphasize your beneficiary knowing where the policy is. When a claim is filed, you beneficiary will be asked to fill out claim forms and return the original policy with those forms. It’s not mandatory since obviously things can get lost over the years. If your beneficiary can’t locate the policy, they can file a lost policy affidavit.

Probably more important than whether or not your beneficiary has an original for the company, is whether or not they can find the policy so they will know what company the policy was with. While not an impossible task, with over 2000 life insurance companies, tracking down who your spouse had life insurance with, in the absence of a policy, is a daunting task. It can takes months, months that your beneficiary will go without the benefit of the life insurance they need.

Bottom line. Don’t make a secret out of your life insurance. Let your spouse know what you have, who it’s with and where the policies are. Pick a backup person for the same knowledge. What if you and your spouse are in a common accident and you die and your spouse is incapacitated?