How to Find Out If Someone Has Life Insurance After They Die-Losing a loved one is a difficult time, and navigating their estate-related documents can be overwhelming. It becomes even more challenging when you’re unsure about what you’re actually looking for.
As a result, it’s not uncommon for life insurance policies to remain unclaimed. Although the life insurance company should conduct a search to locate beneficiaries, their efforts may not always be successful.
If you suspect that you may be the beneficiary of a life insurance policy, there’s no need to wait for the company to find you. Take matters into your own hands and discover how you can determine if someone had life insurance.
By doing so, you can ensure that you don’t unintentionally miss out on any potential funds. This blog post will explore How to Find Out If Someone Has Life Insurance After They Die, keep reading to know all about it.
What Is an Unclaimed Life Insurance Policy?
Every year, millions of dollars in life insurance benefits remain unclaimed, with an average unclaimed benefit of $2,000 and some potential payouts reaching as high as $300,000.
So, why does this happen? Often, it boils down to communication—or the lack thereof.
Before their passing, policyholders may have neglected to inform their loved ones about their life insurance policies. As a result, beneficiaries may be unaware of the need to search for such policies when sorting through financial documents. Additionally, since a life insurance policy typically designates a specific beneficiary, it might not be mentioned in the policyholder’s Will or Trust.
While life insurance companies do attempt to find the beneficiaries, their efforts aren’t always successful. If the company cannot locate or identify you, or if you’re unaware of the policy’s existence, it can go unclaimed.
Given these circumstances, unclaimed life insurance policies are quite common. If you’ve recently lost a loved one, it’s advisable to conduct a search for any potential unclaimed benefits.
How to Find Out If Someone Has Life Insurance After They Die
Determining whether someone had a life insurance policy after their passing involves various methods that require a bit of investigative work on your part.
One actionable step is to utilize life insurance policy locators offered by organizations like the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC), the MIB Group, or the National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators (NAUPA).
The NAIC, representing insurance regulators across all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and U.S. Territories, provides an online policy locator tool. By filling out the online form, the NAIC will request that insurance companies within their network search their records on your behalf.
The MIB Group, a private company serving life insurance companies in the U.S. and Canada, offers a policy locator service for Executors, Administrators, surviving spouses, and closest living relatives. To use their service, you must submit a completed and notarized application form, the original death certificate, and a money order or certified check for $75 by mail.
Lastly, the NAUPA assists in locating unclaimed property, including life insurance policies, across states. Visit the NAUPA website to search through your state’s treasury department or use the wider search option available on missingmoney.com.
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Additional Tips for Finding a Life Insurance Policy
If the national search tools mentioned above don’t yield results, there are still other avenues you can explore to locate a lost or unclaimed life insurance policy:
- Consult with the deceased individual’s family and friends to see if they recall any mention of a life insurance policy.
- Continually check the decedent’s mail for at least a year, as they may receive life insurance premium notices.
- Scrutinize bank transactions for any evidence of life insurance premium payments.
- Inquire with their previous employer(s) or union about potential work-sponsored group policies.
- Contact your state’s unclaimed property office.
- Reach out to known insurance companies for further information.
- Request state-specific online search services from your state insurance commissioner.
- Thoroughly examine the decedent’s personal documents, including safe deposits, file cabinets, desk drawers, and digital files if accessible.
- Review the decedent’s tax returns for any insurance company interest payments.
- Seek advice from the decedent’s lawyers and financial advisors.
- Consider hiring a reputable private detective or search firm specializing in locating unclaimed property.
Update Your Estate Plan Today
If you’re unable to find a loved one’s life insurance policy after their passing, rest assured that there are resources available to assist you in your search.
Even if you’re unsure whether they had a policy, it’s worth checking, as millions of dollars in life insurance benefits go unclaimed each year. As a beneficiary, you wouldn’t want to miss out on any unclaimed benefits that rightfully belong to you.
One of the primary reasons life insurance policy benefits go unclaimed is a breakdown in communication. When individuals take out life insurance policies, they often fail to share that information with others. Since assets with beneficiary designations pass directly to beneficiaries outside of the probate process, the policy might not be mentioned in the Will or Trust.
To prevent this scenario, we highly recommend including your life insurance policy documentation with your estate planning documents in a secure location.
By doing so, your loved ones can easily locate your Will and/or Trust, along with any vital documents related to assets and property that bypass probate. This proactive step helps minimize the risk of leaving behind unclaimed life insurance benefits that you intended to provide.
Life insurance policies fall under a category of assets with beneficiary designations, ensuring direct distribution to your named beneficiary upon your passing. These assets are separate from your estate and, therefore, bypass probate.
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How long after death do you have to collect life insurance?
There is no time limit on receiving life insurance death benefits, so don’t worry about filling a claim too late. To file a claim, you can call the company or, in many cases, start the process online.
How do I check the status of my life insurance policy?
You can simply log in to the insurance company’s website through your phone or laptop and check the status of your policy. You will have to be a registered user to do this. You can sign up using your customer id, mail id, and password to make use of these services online