What’s life insurance, a last will, and whodunit?

Charlotte’s last birthday.  

The guests have arrived, and the vibe is cheery. It’s Charlotte’s 33rd birthday. Only members from the highest realm of her inner circle have been invited. The lights flicker, and the room goes black. We hear a bloodcurdling scream! It’s a dreadful mess. Lying on the floor is our dear Charlotte, completely, utterly, and totally dead. 

Whodunit? Her suspiciously affectionate and overly accommodating butler? Her seemingly plucky, newly wedded husband, or one or both of her super creepy twin best friends? We’ll find out, but the question we must deduce is: Was all of her paperwork in order? Did she have renters insurance for her rental manor, life insurance coverage, and a last will and testament?  Let’s investigate. 

Wine glass and food spilled onto chalkboardThe nasty little details.

It turns out Charlotte was excellent with her paperwork affairs. She did have a will. She had written one with our friends at FreeWill. A “last will and testament” is a legal document that dictates what should happen to your estate and assets after you pass, like who should inherit your vinyl record collection. It also appoints adult guardians to look after your minor children and clearly states anything else you wish to happen; thy will be done. 

Now Charlotte estimated that with limited assets and income, her family would need additional coverage to make ends meet. So she got life insurance to help her loved ones remain in the family home, potentially replace her income, or pay final expenses. And the renters insurance? Well, her husband still needs that for their rental manor.

That said, the husband is still a suspect. FYI, if he is the killer, he may only be entitled to a prison sentence because life insurance benefits generally can’t legally be paid to someone who kills their relative for gain. Also, let’s not jump to conclusions.

Wax sealed envelope on table.The real mystery: her death. 

Charlotte didn’t leave important decisions up to the local and state court systems. Estates typically have to go through probate court to oversee the distribution of assets. When you don’t have a will, the process can get very time-consuming and expensive and can cause disputes between loved ones. Streamline the process by leaving a designated guidebook or file on your desktop with all the information your family needs to access your documents. 

Do we really want Charlotte’s guests fighting about who gets to handle her estate now? No, we want them to focus on solving the mystery of her murder. Since Charlotte had life insurance, extra stress has been taken off of her husband’s future finances, as he’s the beneficiary, too. Okay, he is really suspicious. 

Close up of lit tea light candles on wooden tableSo who is going to get all the fine silverware and other assets? 

You probably know that a will determines the people who get specific assets, known as “beneficiaries.” Since Charlotte’s butler, Harry, is the “executor,” he is in charge of managing her estate, from closing her bank accounts to distributing her assets. 

Harry reads, “To Maria and Martha, my creepy twin best friends, I leave you all my silverware. I know how much you both love shiny things. To Deborah, my jealous aunt, I leave you and your poodles my crossover SUV. Remember to Toggle On℠ Pet Passenger™ to get coverage for them in the car. To Daniel, my love, I leave you my crypto investments, and please take full possession of the lease to our rental manor.” 

fountain pen on black lined paperPhoto by aaronburden on Unsplash

Misconception: you only need a will if you have a lot of valuable possessions. Not true. Many disputes that arise between the deceased's loved ones can often be over possessions of sentimental value. These disputes can go on for years, so if you’d like to keep the peace between your family members, make a will as Charlotte did. Funnily enough, a lot of people think they don’t have enough possessions for renters insurance. Not true; in fact, we suggest you tally up the value of your stuff. It’s worth more than you think. 

Butler serving beverage on silver serving trayWho will take care of her parakeet? 

Pets benefit from wills, too. No, making your pet your sole heir is not legally possible. But we are saying you could make a will to determine who will take care of your pets if you pass away. Charlotte, for example, chose to leave her parakeet to her twin best friends, who got all her silverware since her parakeet also likes shiny things. 

Side note: we know how important our pets are to us. That is why we created our pet liability insurance for renters called Pet Parent®. It can help you protect yourself from hairy situations your pet may cause in your rental.

Blue bird sitting on a wooden dowelHer digital assets aren’t a mystery. 

Yep, Charlotte included her digital assets in her will too. Digital assets can include your viral (or nonviral) social media accounts, your email, your photos and videos, and any web domains you own. Your whole life is on your phone, so yeah, make sure the person you leave it to is someone you trust. 

In your will, you can determine who will be your digital executor and include information about how you want your digital assets managed. Do you want your digital accounts closed or would you like them left open and memorialized? It’s important to include instructions on how to access the accounts, such as passwords and file locations. 

woman using smartphone in front of red and blue lighted glass storePhoto by Julia Viniczay on Unsplash

Her legacy lives on through charitable causes. 

Yes, you read that right. Wills can help you to continue supporting the causes you advocated for during your lifetime. You can leave part of your estate to a charitable organization to leave a lasting positive legacy. 

Using FreeWill, Charlotte was able to select her favorite charities with a few clicks. The death benefit proceeds from Charlotte’s life insurance policy may also be used to contribute to her favorite causes after death. Unlike many assets, life insurance policies don’t belong in your will. Instead, you name the “beneficiary” as part of your policy contract, and the insurance company pays directly to them, without going through probate.

Folded hands and candleCharlotte’s funeral instructions. 

Fair, your funeral isn’t something that you want to think about. So let’s just focus on Charlotte’s. Thank you, Charlotte. Alongside her will, she was able to provide specific instructions for her funeral. She planned it all out so her grieving loved ones wouldn’t have to. As mentioned earlier, life insurance proceeds may be used to help with the burial costs. 

Charlotte’s instructions were absolutely no crying, to be buried in her favorite onesie, and for the twins to be her pallbearers. As the twins struggled to lower Charlotte’s casket to her final resting place, her husband, Daniel, was blinded by an object poking from one of the twin’s coat pockets. It was the roast beef carving knife, the evident murder weapon. Ah, the twins! 

red candles on brown wooden tablePhoto by Zinko Hein on Unsplash

Less mystery, more peace of mind. 

So now we know the twins were the killers. Charlotte made the mistake of confiding in them that she planned to leave them her silverware; evidently, they like shiny objects very, very much. Too bad for the twins, who, unlike you, didn’t know that being the killer likely kills their chances of receiving any inheritance. As a reminder, this is an entirely fictitious murder mystery and it doesn’t matter how we fictitiously kill Charlotte or don’t. She’s covered in her rental manor and afterlife because all her paperwork is in order. In this make-believe story, everyone is happy because they didn’t have to spend way, way, way too long in probate court. 

At Toggle®, we want you to be prepared in all aspects of your life. Whether that is knowing you can protect yourself in your apartment with Toggle Renters Insurance or on the road with our Auto Insurance, we want to help. Our friends at FreeWill are here to help you get peace of mind by making it easy for you to make a will. Your loved ones will thank you. 

Toggle-Blog-_0006_GettyImages-172273007The information included in this blog is for informational purposes only and is not intended as professional or expert advice. It is based on research and the collective experiences of the Toggle Team and has not been verified by any academic institutions, government organizations, or world-renowned scholars, but it does make a lot of sense and we do hope you find it useful. We encourage you to use your own good judgment about what’s appropriate for you.

Links to third-party websites are provided for your convenience only. Toggle has not independently verified any of the information provided therein and makes no representations about the enduring accuracy of such information or any content.

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