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A Child Has Died - What to Do?


There can be no doubt that the death of a minor child is one of the greatest shocks life can deliver. It would be presumptuous to believe anything I write can prepare for such devastation. No one can ever prepare for the cascade of challenges that will come with such an event. Not only are there legal and financial challenges you must deal with, but all of these challenges come at a time of deep emotional crisis, so deep they almost feel physical. Nevertheless, help is out there, and the resources available can go a long way to help ease the burdens that you and your loved ones will face during this terrible time.


Much has been written about the emotional, spiritual, and mental challenges that you will face when a child passes away and how you can navigate these challenges. The internet provides a wealth of resources on these topics, and we encourage you to seek them out. As a result, this article will focus on the financial and legal aspects of dealing with a child’s death.


Life insurance. Many families purchase life insurance on one or both parents to ensure that if the family’s source of income ends due to the death of the parent, the family will not be left without financial support. It is much rarer for parents, however, especially young parents, to take the extra step of purchasing a life insurance policy for a minor child. The death of a child is an unthinkable event, and so it is not surprising many parents refuse to even go there in their minds, let alone take the step of purchasing a life insurance policy.


That being said, many good life insurance agents recommend an insurance rider on a parent’s life insurance policy that provides additional coverage for a minor child that can at least pay for funeral expenses. These riders typically add minimal additional premium cost and, as a result, are often simply forgotten about by parents. If you have a life insurance policy you obtained years ago that you still pay for, call your insurance agent to see if the policy has an insurance rider that provides any amount of coverage for a child. If so, these extra insurance funds can be a valuable benefit to help ease the financial burden associated with your child’s funeral and burial costs.


Employee benefits. If you discover that you do not have benefits for a child’s death through your life insurance policy, the next step is to reach out to your employer’s human resources department to determine whether your employer offers any benefits for this type of event. People are often surprised to learn that their employer has purchased insurance coverage for events just like this to assist employees. Even if a formal insurance policy does not exist, employers (and even coworkers) are often eager and willing to pitch in with company and personal funds to help in a trag