By Harvey Brown Special to The Pineapple Question: Why should I buy life insurance? Answer: Because life insurance is one of the greatest estate planning tools available to you and will positively affect the lives of your loved ones in ways you can’t imagine. Insurance costs here in South Florida can really add up. By the time you add up your auto, health, and homeowners insurance you realize you’re spending a good part of your budget on insurance of one type or another. As a result, adding life insurance may be the last thing on your mind when it comes to your expenses. I am here to tell you that life insurance is arguably the greatest estate planning tool that you can buy. If you have a family then it is a must-have for your financial planning. Life Insurance will give your family the gift of time as they won’t have to sell assets immediately to fund their lives. If you are unmarried or don’t have children, consider expenses your family/relatives would have to cover such as caring for your pet(s), clearing up your debts, emptying they contents of your home, funeral and burial costs. Life Insurance will really help here. Life Insurance payments are usually tax- free and are paid outside of the probate process, meaning a check goes directly to you and isn’t delayed by the legal process when someone dies. Often my clients will tell me they need some life insurance because they have a mortgage and want it paid off should they die. I tell them that paying off the mortgage is just the start of the expenses and they should buy at least $500,000 to $1,000,000 of coverage if possible. Why the higher limits of coverage? Houses cost money to maintain. Things break or wear out. HOA assessments can happen. A two-income household that loses a breadwinner can quickly go into the “red” financially and force a sale of the house even if there’s no mortgage and the remaining spouse works. Life insurance can provide the funds for kid’s medical expenses, school, braces, clothing (the list goes on-and-on) and aftercare or babysitting, allowing the remaining parent to make a living. College can still be possible with life insurance funding an educational account. Cars can be replaced without driving a “clunker” forever. If you are a business owner, life insurance is the perfect way to provide funds to keep the business going until a successor or buyer is found. If you have a business partner, then life insurance can provide funds for the remaining partner to buy out your spouse’s interest, giving your family the money to continue to live comfortably. Life insurance is not a luxury, it is a necessity. Too often I have seen instances where friends or acquaintances either didn’t have life insurance at all or didn’t have enough. It was hard to see their lifestyles change for the worse when a spouse passed away. Here’s the good news: People are living longer; mortality tables are improving so rates continue to go down, which is great for the consumer! There is quite a bit more to this issue but to keep things simple I will say do yourself and your loved ones a favor – buy Life Insurance and do it sooner rather than later. I’ve never met a beneficiary of a Life Policy who said they had too much coverage! The Harvey L. Brown Agency are experts in auto, home, business, life/health and represent over 40 companies. If you have questions or concerns about your insurance, call 561-276-0369 Monday-Friday 9-5pm.