,p>,br>When one takes out a life insurance policy, one should be very careful about two things. (Well, aside from the fact that you might be doing business with a crook; but I thought that went without saying.)

First of all, make sure that you understand who owns the policy. If you are a parent taking out a policy on a child, it might be a good idea to make you the owner so that the child, when he reaches age 18 (in most states) can't find the policy in the drawer and go cash it in. If you aren't the owner, the insurance company can't stop the little bastard from doing just that. (Refer to Lyle and Eric Menendez and try to feel OK that this is all that junior did to you today.) To see other messy situations that can develop, see divorce.

Second, make sure you get the beneficiary information correct. Who do you want to get the money if you die? What if that person and you die at the same time. (You'd be surprised how, in the age of the automobile and airplane, how often that actually happens.)

Name a contingent beneficiary. It makes it easier on the courts and the company, too.