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When life takes a tragic turn, life insurance helps former ballerina keep her family and dreams intact.

Live insurance coverage helps family through a tough time.

When life takes a tragic turn, life insurance helps a former ballerina keep her family and dreams intact.

By all accounts, Rachel Turnage had it all: a loving husband, three terrific children, and a thriving family business. Life was so good, in fact, that Rachel—a classically trained ballerina—was able to pursue her dream of opening a dance studio in her hometown of Oakdale, California.

Then life took a turn for the worse. Much worse. Her husband of 15 years was diagnosed with stage III colon cancer. “It was a huge shock,” Rachel said. “Jason was only 35 at the time, so when the symptoms first appeared, the doctors really weren’t thinking colon cancer. It was only after they had pretty much ruled everything else out that they realized how bad things were.”

With the help of some alternative medicine and a strong will to live, Jason survived for nearly four years. Toward the end, however, it was clear that he could no longer escape the inevitable. “He put up a good fight,” Rachel said. “But as the disease progressed, he decided it was best to focus on the family and make the most of the time we had left.”

Fortunately, Jason had planned well. A few months before he fell ill, Jason purchased a sizeable whole life policy from New York Life Insurance Company, one that would safeguard his family’s hopes and dreams for the future. At the same time, he and his business partner entered into a buy-sell agreement and used a pair of 10-year term life insurance policies to help protect their interests.

Little did he know how important those decisions would turn out to be—or how quickly they would come into play.

“The life insurance policies helped us in so many ways,” Rachel said. “As Jason’s condition deteriorated, our Agent, Lars Willerup, reminded us that we could use the Living Benefits Rider1 on the whole life policy to help pay for treatment. Jason wouldn’t hear of it, however—he wanted to make sure that money would be there for us. So instead, we opted to borrow $20,000 from the policy’s cash value2 and used it to make our last few months as a family as fulfilling as possible.”

It wasn’t until Jason died that the true impact of his coverage was felt. Thanks to the term life policy and buy-sell agreement, Jason’s business partner received $500,000 and had enough money to pay off a recent equipment loan and buy the other half of the company from Rachel. Better still the $750,000 benefit Rachel received from the whole life insurance policy was more than enough to make sure that she and the children would be set for life.

“There’s a big hole in our lives to be sure,” said Rachel. “But things are working out the way Jason planned. Thanks to the life insurance proceeds, the money we received from the business buyout, and the income I get from the dance studio, we’re actually in pretty good financial shape. We were able to pay cash for a brand new home, and have plenty of money set aside for the kids’ college educations. I’m sure that would make Jason happy, and it makes us feel like he’s still here, still looking after us.”

But that’s not the end of the story. After seeing how important life insurance can be, Rachel purchased a whole life insurance policy of her own, and she has prefunded a retirement account with the help from Lars. Better yet, she is taking her dream to the next level and opening a second dance studio in nearby Reno, Nevada.

“Because of all the planning Jason did with New York Life, I really don’t have to worry about the future,” she said. “I can spend all my time focusing on the two things I love most—my children and my students. That’s the best gift I can ever imagine, and I’ll always be grateful for that.”

1 The Living Benefits Rider provides the policy owner with the option to accelerate a portion of eligible death benefit proceeds when the Insured is diagnosed with a terminal illness. Other conditions and restrictions apply.
2 Policy loans accrue interest and reduce cash value and death benefit.

The experience of the people described in this material may not be representative of the experiences of all New York Life policyholders and is not indicative of future experience.

In Oregon, the policy form number for New York Life Whole Life is ICC12-213-52. In Oregon, the policy form number for the Living Benefits Rider is 206-496.27.