Dennis Foster: Planning for contingencies can bring comfort

Dennis Foster
Special to the Farm Forum

The last several columns have been focusing on the financial benefits of incorporating life insurance into a solid and fool proof estate plan. The benefits are clearly definable, numerous and invaluable. Life insurance is unique in the fact that it is the only financial tool that leverages relatively few dollars into large sums of tax-free cash that is available at the exact time a family depends upon it. The stress of losing a loved one causes enough agony. Adding financial strain during the grieving process can become downright debilitating. Knowing that all contingencies are accounted for brings a real sense of comfort. Just when it is needed the most.

The dollars provided serve to be the vehicle that takes your family from uncertainty to a place of serenity. For most folks with a caring nature, this is the exact desired outcome. After all, we do not do this kind of planning for ourselves. Rather it is done for those who are left behind. A common statement that you may have heard more than once is that Life insurance is not for those who live. Seldom have so few words had so much meaning and impact. There is absolutely no benefit for the person who is insured. Other than providing piece of mind while still living. It is this selfless and caring concern that inspires us to do the right thing for not just our families, but for the legacy and well-being of the family farm as well.

I have never heard of a family complaining about a lost loved one having too much insurance. I think it would be safe to say that, no one has. Unfortunately-and all too often-the exact opposite is the case. A few dollars and some foresight can do wonders.

As you are fully aware, the monetary needs of a modern farming operation are enormous. You truly cannot own more than your family may end up needing. As our lives, business, and family progress over the years, so do our needs. They may shift focus, but seldom-if ever-diminishes.

As much as I enjoy the interaction and problem-solving aspect of helping families though the process of building and properly implementing a viable estate plan, the real satisfaction of my work arrives later, hopefully much later. It is when the inevitable occurs that we see the value of the financial planning aspect. As much as it troubles me to learn of a client’s passing and the sorrow their family is experiencing; there is nothing more humbling and gratifying to me than handing a large check to a grieving family and witnessing the angst of the situation quickly dissipate. Guaranteeing that when the dust settles, everything will be alright.

These tragic events serve as a stark reminder of just how important and downright personal all of this is.

On the surface life insurance seems like anything near warm and fuzzy. Rather, most folks view it as a cold and calculated purchase. Once you observe first-hand the positive and profound impact that life insurance proceeds have for a family and the farming operation, you will most definitely come away with a much different impression.

You may be thinking, well this is all good and fine and that I may even be a bit prejudiced as I recommend and yes, I most certainly do sell life insurance. Lots of it. But, only when and where appropriate.

Please do your family a favor. Keep an open mind to all the possibilities and seek out knowledgeable and experienced advisors who have your best interest at heart. Your loved ones will be forever grateful that you did.