Category Archives: Personal Finance

Can I Leave My Life Insurance Benefits to My Pet?

3 Ways for Leaving Life Insurance to a Pet

When you think of life insurance, you probably think of leaving money for your children or your spouse, but some people also want to leave something behind for their pet. In today’s materialistic culture, caring for pets can border on the extreme. Clothes for your pet is one thing, but a trust fund? If you can believe it, leaving life insurance to a pet has become the new normal for many pet owners. In case you were wondering, pets are not considered people and they cannot legally inherit money or possessions. However, many life insurance providers will offer their clients the option of setting up a pet trust, a legally binding agreement that holds money for specific beneficiaries. In so many words, the policyholder has the option of leaving money to a person who then assumes responsibility for caring for the pet.

Who Needs a Pet Trust?

There are some instances in which a pet trust makes the most sense. If a pet has a long lifespan and is expected to outlive their owner, that person would need to make arrangements for finding their pet a new home. Once they designate a new owner for their pet, they have to consider the cost that goes along with it. In some cases, a pet’s living expenses can amount to several thousands of dollars each year. A person with several pets would have to multiply those expenses. People with exotic pets might also invest in a pet trust. Certain animals would have difficulty finding good homes in their owner’s absence. A legally binding pet trust would ensure that these animals are properly taken care of after their owners pass away.

Types of Pet Trusts

Pet owners have several options when leaving life insurance to a pet. Each option comes with its own limitations and special considerations.

? Traditional Pet Trust

The trust names a new caregiver for the pet with specific instructions for how the pet should be cared for. In most cases, the trust will also designate a separate trustee who’s responsible for managing the money in the account. This creates a system of accountability between the beneficiaries. If one person were responsible for taking care of the pet and managing the account, it could lead to a conflict of interest.

? Statutory Pet Trust

This type of trust simply designates a sum of money for the pet’s care. The court will then assign an individual to take care of the pet and a separate individual to oversee the funds. The original owner does not have the option of including specific instructions for how the pet should be cared for.

? Pet Protection Agreement

As a more direct option for pet owners, a Pet Protection Agreement is a legally binding contract signed by the current owner and the pet’s future caregiver. This option is not ideal for transferring large sums of money. Instead, the owner can quickly designate a new owner for their pet without using a life insurance policy.A traditional trust is by far the most comprehensive way to ensure your pet’s future. To find out more about how to leave life insurance to a pet, contact the experts at

LifeInsure.com (http://www.lifeinsure.com/). They can help you find the right

insurance company to make sure that your pet will always be in good hands.

Article source: http://www.lifeinsure.com/can-leave-life-insurance-benefits-pet/

5 Ways to Improve Your Finances in 2016

The New Year is still young, which means many of us haven’t yet given up on our resolutions. So if being better with money was on your list of things to improve on in 2016, we’ve got a few tips to help you stick to it.

1. Educate Yourself
Several studies have shown that simply being educated on the basics of saving, investing and compound interest can significantly improve your financial situation. According to one of these studies, people with a higher level of financial literacy were much more likely to save for retirement, and, on average, those who do save for retirement end up with double the wealth of those who do not. Not surprisingly, the study also found that those with insufficient financial knowledge tend to overspend, over-borrow and pay more in avoidable fees and late charges.

2. Set Goals

Whether it’s saving for a down payment on a house, finally buying that new car, or putting a certain amount of money into your retirement plan, it’s important to have a clear goal in mind. It’s much easier to plan your spending and saving when you can focus on a concrete figure.

If your goal is a big one (a down payment, paying off a big loan, etc.) it helps to break that seemingly insurmountable goal into smaller manageable steps. Set milestones throughout the year so you can check in periodically, see where you stand, and make adjustments accordingly.

It can also be helpful to share your goals with others. Tell your spouse, partner, friends, and/or share your goals and progress on social media. This will help hold you accountable as you move closer to your goals.

3. Set a Budget and Stick to It

Whether you have a financial goal or not, setting a budget is a good way to get a handle on your finances. If you aren’t exactly sure where all your money is going, or you’ve ever been surprised by your bank balance, setting a budget will help stop the bleeding and keep your money from slipping through the cracks. Setting a budget is just a matter of writing out all your expenses and comparing them to your monthly income. This will help you identify leaks (it’s very common for people to forget about automatic payments they set up in the past) and see where you can find places to cut down on extraneous spending. Then you can see what’s left over each month and decide how much to save and how much you can reasonably spend on entertainment, dining out, etc.

4. Examine Your Insurance Situation
If you’re paying for health or life insurance, you should check in periodically to see whether you’re paying too much on your monthly premiums. For instance, if you were a smoker, or avid scuba diver when you purchased your policy, but have since quit your unhealthy habit, or given up your dangerous hobby, it might be possible to renegotiate your rates after a certain amount of time has passed. Insurance companies are competitive, so it’s also possible that a different insurance company might have a better plan today that they didn’t offer a few years ago, so it’s a good idea to continue shopping around even if you already have insurance.

If you’re paying for health or life insurance, you should check in periodically to see whether you’re paying too much on your monthly premiums. For instance, if you were a smoker, or avid scuba diver when you purchased your policy, but have since quit your unhealthy habit, or given up your dangerous hobby, it might be possible to renegotiate your rates after a certain amount of time has passed.Insurance companies are competitive, so it’s also possible that a different insurance company might have a better plan today that they didn’t offer a few years ago, so it’s a good idea to continue shopping around even if you already have insurance.

5. Focus on Smaller Debts First

If you owe a few hundred dollars on a store credit card, or a thousand bucks to a collections agency for an overlooked medical bill, try to tackle those first, rather than trying to pay off everything all at once. Eliminating those tiny nagging debts will help you clean up and organize your overall financial picture so you can breathe a bit easier and begin making a dent in that massive student loan debt.

The task can seem daunting at first, but the peace of mind you get from getting a hold on your finances is more than worth it. Start setting your financial goals today, and before you know it you’ll be sitting on a nice little nest egg.

Article source: http://www.lifeinsure.com/5-ways-improve-finances-2016/

5 Infamous Cases of Life Insurance Fraud

Money is all too often the motive when it comes to murder cases in the United States. That explains why we see so many movies and TV shows with plots that involve life insurance-related murders. Unfortunately, it just so happens that this sort of crime is just as common in real life as it is on the big and small screen. Here are 5 horrifying real-life stories of lies, murder and attempted murder in the name of a big life insurance payday.

Isaac Aguigui
In 2014, 22-year-old Army soldier Pvt. Isaac Aguigui was convicted by a military judge of the murder of his pregnant wife, Sgt. Deirdre Aguigui, and her unborn child. Aguigui collected $400,000 in life insurance benefits from the death of his wife, and another $100,000 for funeral costs provided by the U.S. Army.

What makes this story extra frightening is that Aguigui allegedly planned to use the insurance payout to fund a terrorist group comprised of himself and a few other soldiers. The terrorist organization, known as FEAR (Forever Enduring, Always Ready) was allegedly plotting, among other things, to bomb a public park, poison apple crops in Washington State, and even assassinate the president. At the time of his conviction, Aguigui was already serving a life sentence for the murder of two people who had allegedly discovered the group’s plans.

Julia Merfeld
21-year-old Julia Merfield of Muskegon, Michigan is currently serving a 5-20 year prison sentence for soliciting the murder of her husband in 2013.

Merfield, looking to cash in on her husband’s $400,000 life insurance policy, approached a coworker about helping her pull off the murder. The coworker immediately notified police, and then arranged a meeting between Merfield and a friend of his that he said would be willing to kill her husband. The coworker’s friend was actually an undercover detective who secretly filmed two conversations in which Merfield explicitly describes how, where and when she wants the murder to take place. Luckily, in this case, police were able to intervene before anyone was hurt or killed.

Molly and Clayton Daniels
Molly Clayton lost her husband in a fatal car accident in 2004. At least, that’s what she told the police. What actually happened was much more bizarre.

In an attempt to fake her husband’s death and collect on his $110,000 life insurance policy, Molly convinced Clayton to dig up a body from a local cemetery, dress it in his clothes and then stage his own fiery death. And that’s exactly what he did. However, police noticed right away that the circumstances surrounding the accident seemed a bit suspicious. There were no skid marks leading up to the site of the accident, and the fire was determined to have started in the front seat, rather than the engine of the vehicle.

The scheme completely fell apart when DNA testing revealed that the burned body found in the driver’s seat was actually that of a woman. Police later found that Molly had also forged documents in an attempt to create a new identity for her husband, including a fake birth certificate and driver’s license. She had even introduced her two children to a new “boyfriend” Jake Gregg, who was actually just Clayton with dyed black hair.

Pastor Kevin Pushia
In 2010, Former Pastor and founder of a small Baltimore, MD church, Kevin Pushia, was convicted of the murder of Lemuel Wallace, a blind, developmentally disabled man associated at Pushia’s nonprofit organization. Pushia confessed to having hired two men to pick Wallace up from his group home and shoot him in a nearby park bathroom.

Pushia was found out when the insurance company noticed he was listed on Wallace’s $400,000 life insurance plan. He had apparently posed as Wallace’s brother to get his name added to the policy.

The two men accused of committing the act were eventually acquitted and Pushia is now serving a life sentence for ordering the murder, with an another 45 years added on for the additional charge of insurance fraud.

The Eventual Death of “Iron” Mike Malloy
Probably one of the most infamous (and bizarre) cases of insurance fraud is that of the murder (after 5 attempts!) of Michael Malloy in 1933. After Malloy, a homeless man and severe alcoholic, had upset the owner of his favorite speakeasy (by frequently passing out face down on the bar) the owner and 5 friends hatched a little scheme.

Their plan was to take out a life insurance policy on Malloy and then get him to drink himself to death so they could split the payout. But when he failed to die from alcohol poisoning, they realized they’d have to change their approach. They poisoned him with antifreeze, turpentine, rotten food, even rat poison, and he just kept on waking up. One night, they waited for him to pass out at the bar, dragged him outside in sub-zero temperatures, poured freezing water on his bare chest and dumped him in the snow thinking he would surely freeze to death. Nope, Malloy just strolled into the bar the next day thinking he had simply gotten too drunk the night before and passed out in the park.

The 5 conspirators, dubbed ‘The Murder Trust’ by the New York media, eventually did kill Malloy via carbon monoxide poisoning. All five were soon caught and sent to prison where four of them were executed in the electric chair.

The Silver Lining
Fortunately, life insurance companies are meticulous when it comes to paying out benefits and the research involved in processing a claim has led to more than a few convictions of fraudsters, murderers and would-be murders looking to benefit from someone else’s death. So while these crimes are
gruesome, tragic and downright terrifying, we can all rest a little easier knowing that most of the time, justice is eventually done.

Article source: http://www.lifeinsure.com/5-infamous-cases-of-life-insurance-fraud/

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