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Accessing Your Accelerated Death Benefit Can Be a Lifesaver

Accessing your policy's death benefit can be a life saver for your family.

By Byron Udell | March 13, 2017

Having access to a policy’s Accelerated Death Benefit and adding a Waiver of Premium rider to your life insurance can help families better cope with a spouse’s terminal illness.

Don Wachtel loved to fix and restore things. He was an expert tile craftsman, with a thriving business, and a good provider to his wife, Tonia and their two daughters.

As his business grew, Don had wisely decided to take out a term life policy, to protect his family financially, in case something unforeseen should happen to him.

But, sadly, the one thing that Don could not fix or restore was his health. At age 45, he started having bad headaches and had trouble remembering things. Finally, Tonia took Don to see their doctor. Within 24 hours, it was determined that he was suffering from an inoperable brain tumor.
For any family, a terminal diagnosis of a loved one is devastating. Cancer has many victims, not just those afflicted with the disease. The whole family is affected.

So when the chief breadwinner gets sick, how does the family stay afloat financially? How will the bills get paid? The mortgage? The car payments? The utilities?

Luckily, Don’s life insurance had a “waiver of premium” rider, so if he was ever not able to work, he didn’t have the additional burden of paying his premiums. His policy also included an “accelerated death benefit,” which allowed Don to access up to 50 percent of his death benefit while he was still alive.

Don and Tonia used his accelerated death benefit to spend more quality time together, take some vacations and pay daily living expenses. Because of this benefit, Tonia was able to take a leave of absence from her job, so she could be her husband’s full-time caregiver. Just 19 months after his initial diagnosis, Don died at home at age 47.

After his death, Tonia was able to access the remaining death benefit to help pay for Don’s funeral. The extra cash also allowed her to stay home for several months and spend more time with her daughters at a very critical time.

To this day, Don’s life insurance policy continues to help the Wachtel family heal. “Without life insurance, I would have had to go back to work immediately, get a second job, and we surely would have lost our home,” says Tonia.

To hear more about Tonia’s story, watch this video. Video courtesy of Life Happens (www.lifehappens.org).

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