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Obviously, talking about someone’s demise, especially yours, is unpleasant. But like any other long-term plan, having adequate life insurance is critical to making sure your loved ones – those who count on you for financial support – are taken care of.

To assess your life insurance needs, the Insurance Information Institute ( suggests asking yourself the following questions.

Does anyone depend on me for financial support?

Whether it’s a spouse/domestic partner, children, grandchildren, or even aging parents, you’ll want to make sure they’re left financially secure. Buy enough life insurance to replace your income while also financing the expenses your beneficiaries will incur to replace services you provide within the household (e.g., landscaping, tax preparation).

Are my retirement and other savings alone enough to support my dependents?

Unless your savings and retirement benefits are substantial, the income they generate is unlikely to be enough to pay for the housing, education and other day-to-day needs of your financial dependents.

What is my plan for covering final expenses?

Whether or not you have dependents, you’ll want to be able to cover the expenses incurred by funeral related costs, outstanding taxes and debts, and the administrative fees associated with “winding up” an estate. These expenses can total upwards of $15,000, and can be defrayed by having the right life insurance policy in place.

Keep in mind there are two major types of life insurance—term and whole life. Term covers the policyholder for a specified period—usually from one to 30 years. Whole life, sometimes called permanent life insurance, covers the policyholder for as long as they live—even if it’s to 100.

“Because there are many options when it comes to purchasing life insurance,” said Michael Barry, the I.I.I.’s vice president for Media Relations,  “it is important that consumers work with an insurance professional who can explain the various types of life insurance policies—and make sure they get the best coverage for their specific needs and budget.”