HEATON, ND –
While searching for a document to prepare his tax returns, a local man this week discovered to his chagrin that the beneficiary of his wife’s life insurance policy was not her husband of 42 years, but was instead their cat, Roosevelt.
Neil Barsuchel was looking thru envelopes to locate his 2016 retirement income, when he happened across an insurance policy his wife had taken out 8 years ago when she began working at a dry cleaners part time. The policy, surprisingly, designates the couple’s 2 year old tawny feline as the beneficiary in the event of Mrs. Barsuchel’s death.
“I know my wife has grown very attached to that cat, especially since our daughter moved to San Francisco last year,” said Mr. Barsuchel. “And he is a good enough cat. But I was a little taken aback to see that Mabel left me out completely and gave the entire policy benefit to Roosevelt, were she to die,” Mr. Barsuchel said, looking down at the policy in his hands. “I don’t really understand.”
Mrs. Barsuchel, who was cooking a hamburger for Roosevelt as her husband sat in the front porch, said that she would certainly have included Mr. Barsuchel had their been an additional space for a second beneficiary. “I just didn’t see anywhere to include him on the form,” she said. “They just had the one line. I think it’s really a shortcoming of the insurance company if you ask me.”
Not A Big Deal
The Barsuchels are in their 60’s and both in good shape physically. Mr. Barsuchel maintains his own life insurance policy and lists his wife as the beneficiary, but Mrs. Barsuchel didn’t see a need to follow suit. “Neil could just as easily name someone else as his beneficiary. I’m not sure what the big deal is,” she said. “If I pass away, he can easily go out and get a job for himself, but Roosevelt can’t. He’s just a cat. And I would feel just terrible if I died knowing that he wasn’t taken care of.”
Mr. Barsuchel said he would be happy to take care of the cat in the event of his wife’s passing for as long as he lived. However, his wife was unmoved. “What if Neil goes and blows all the insurance money on a boat and then dies? What is Roosevelt going to do? He can’t drive a boat.”
“For all I know my husband could get run over by a truck the day I leave this earth, and then what? Probate? This is just sensible planning.”
Mr. Barsuchels mentioned the issue to their daughter, Jessica, when she called to check up on her parents over President’s Day, but she didn’t see anything wrong with it. “Mom sure loves that cat,” said Ms. Barsuchels. “I’m out in California, so I wouldn’t be much help. I can see why she’d want to make sure Roosevelt was watched over if something went wrong. He’s really a great cat.”
“And anyway, I’m sure dad could continue living in the house if mom passes. Roosevelt probably would hardly notice he’s there,” she added. “Of course, if Roosevelt were to die, then the house would go to Willard, our dog. And I’m not sure that would work out so well, since Willard and my dad don’t exactly get along,” Ms. Barsuchels said as she cleared her throat.
“Yeah, Willard wouldn’t let him stay. So, you know. Hopefully dad is lining up a plan B.”
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