My former mother-in-law took out a life-insurance coverage on my eldest baby. I am enraged. Is that authorized?

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My former mother-in-law has life insurance for my 27 year old daughter, her eldest granddaughter. Is that valid and legal?

We all live in Georgia and have been for years. I divorced my ex-husband 26 years ago. My current husband of 24 years took my eldest daughter in and accepted her 100% as his own from the start.

My ex-husband is an alcoholic and has a very controlling and manipulative mother. He is currently on probation and is not allowed to drive after five DUIs. My ex-husband is a mom’s boy. His mother is a dishonest and devious person who begs, borrows, cheats and steals for her “baby” or herself because she feels that the world owes her something.

When I remarried, I found myself with my ex – or his mom for checking the wallets – in court – every now and then for about four years. My ex tried to pay child support. I finally agreed as I was tired of the fight. Also, my current husband said he would do it if the ex didn’t want to take care of his own child.

“We’ve still argued over ridiculous things over the years.”

We’ve still argued over ridiculous things over the years. Not once did my ex-husband or his parents help with anything other than what the court required, which was almost nothing. They did not help with anything school-related unless it was necessary; they didn’t help with the purchase of the first car, tuition, and fees.

They didn’t even help when my eldest asked to go to alcohol rehab because she needed help. I haven’t communicated with any of them in over 10 years. I despise them all. Fast forward to today when my eldest told me my ex-mother-in-law has life insurance for all of her grandchildren, plus half a dozen other people.

You have never given or even offered financial help to my daughter over the years, so why does she think it’s okay to get life insurance for my child? How can I cancel this policy? I can assure you that if – God forbid – my daughter dies, she plans to pocket the money instead of burying my child.

She is a monster-in-law! I would be very grateful for any information or advice.

Former daughter-in-law

You can email The Moneyist at qfottrell@marketwatch.com with any financial and ethical issues related to the coronavirus and follow Quentin Fottrell on Twitter.

Dear alumni,

Basically, it makes sense to take out life insurance for a grandchild as a gift for this child and not as a payment for the graduate.

In most states, your ex-mother-in-law will require your daughter’s permission provided she was an adult at the time, or from her parents or guardians if she was a minor. She presumably obtained this permission from your daughter’s father. Forging such a signature would be illegal.

Of course, most grandparents take out policies for their grandchildren to help them build a nest egg for college – although a 529 account might be a better alternative – or just to give them cash back at a later date. For example, you can sign the policy on them at the age of 18 or 25.

“As extended caregivers, grandparents are entitled to take out life insurance for their grandchildren,” says SelectQuote, which helps people buy insurance policies. “The insurance can be taken out in the name of the child, ie the child becomes the policyholder when it is of legal age.”

You describe all of the misdeeds and absences of your ex-husband and ex-mother-in-law, and it is clearly very emotionally triggering that this policy existed. It seems to spark all of these bad memories and resentments. I have no doubt the bad behavior or that your daughter’s father did not appear in her life.

“Whether or not you instigate bad behavior, the choice is yours: let them die or be hostage to their every move.”

However, if you’re obsessed with this policy and worrying about how to undo it, you might as well be married to both of them. Whether or not you instigate bad behavior, the choice is yours: let them die or be hostage for every move they make.

If you choose the latter, ask yourself what it is for you to choose this path – because it is a choice. Perhaps this anger is a familiar place to you, and resentment enables you to feel righteous and unjust, and is a reminder that you did your best to be a good person.

Whatever the reason, these short-term waves of pain and anger – no matter how legitimate – are not for your long-term happiness. The whole point of divorce and starting a new life is leaving those little worries behind. It will only create a toxic family atmosphere.

There can be benefits in taking out life insurance for a young and healthy grandchild. “Plans for grandchildren seldom require review, tariffs will never rise, and insurance coverage never expires,” said Choice Mutual insurance agency.

There are two main types of life insurance: The first is term life insurance, which exists for a certain period of time and has no cash value. The second is whole life – also known as universal life, variable universal life, and indexed universal life – which, as the name suggests, lasts the entire life of the person.

Your ex-mother-in-law could either wait and, in the unlikely event your daughter dies before her, redeem the policy. Alternatively, she could use it as a de facto savings plan and borrow early from the policy or money. However, it is not healthy to speculate about what she might or might not do.

Whether her motivations are selfish or altruistic, your ex-mother-in-law has to pay a premium for every life insurance policy she owns. If she does not meet the premiums, the policies expire. That is your lifelong responsibility and your choice. Do yourself a favor and leave it to her.

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