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  • Schofield

Life insurance - love, death and paperwork.

Why the paperwork really matters - protecting the ones you love.


We’ve all seen the adverts; how life insurance is there to look after your family if the worst should happen. For many of us, death is a difficult topic but when someone dies, life insurance suddenly becomes a critical lifeline for the remaining family.

Getting a life insurance policy is vital but it’s equally important to ensure the ‘paperwork’ is accurate and up to date. Sounds simple – but with divorce becoming increasingly common, it’s easy to forget to change these important details. Most people think that just making a new will is enough to protect their loved ones (and to remove their ex-spouses from inheritance). Wrong. In fact, life insurance (and pensions) are not subject to the intentions in the will. That’s why it’s vital that ALL policy paperwork is checked, preferably by financial experts like Schofield to ensure everything is present and correct.

Eva found this out to her cost. Her long-term partner Simon died unexpectedly at the age of 55 from a heart attack. They had been together for 9 years and were getting married in a few weeks. They had moved their ‘blended’ family into a large rented house and had been careful to protect their new life. Both had made new legally binding wills and had contacted their respective insurance companies to ensure their pension and life insurance paperwork was up to date. Life seemed good and they were looking forward to a happy, long-term future together. And then Simon died.

Eva said,I was in total shock but quickly realised that I had to face the realities of life. I now had 4 children to look after, rental payments on a large house and a funeral to organise, so I was thankful that I had the life insurance to draw upon otherwise I knew I simply couldn’t cope. I called the insurance company the week after Simon died and was totally shocked by their response.

Unfortunately, despite Simon receiving verbal and email assurances from his life insurance company that everything was accurate and up to date, it turned out that there was ‘a problem with the paperwork’. The outcome for Eva was calamitous. The entire life insurance payment (almost £1million) went to Simon’s ex-wife. What’s more, as Eva and Simon weren’t yet married, his pension did not pay out as Eva wasn’t his wife. So, far from believing she was financially protected, Eva had to face the harsh reality that she wouldn’t receive a thing.

She was devastated and frightened as she simply didn’t know how she was going to pay all the bills. As a result, she had to go back to work immediately after Simon’s death to earn enough money for the family to live, giving her no time to grieve. Eva took steps to sue the insurance company for negligence as she thought she had a good case, but as legal fees increased, it rapidly became too expensive to carry on.

Eva has learned a lot from her experience. Her tip for ensuring that others don’t suffer the same fate is simple:

  • Use an expert to check your financial paperwork if your circumstances change (e.g. divorce and new partner) because email or telephone confirmation is not enough.

Come and talk to the experts at Schofield to check that your life insurance and pension paperwork is up to date and accurately reflects your wishes. We can take look at all your existing policies and recommend new ones to fill any gaps.

Call us now on 01423 368000 or email us on

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