The loss of a loved one is an already challenging time. And when you add on the stress of finalizing their estate and recovering their financial documents, things can get tough quickly. Sometimes it can be difficult to track down all the documents needed to finalize your loved one’s estate.
If you are not sure if your loved one had a life insurance policy when they died, we have some suggestions to help you locate the policy and determine your loved one’s chosen beneficiary.
Gather all the physical documents you can find
The best place to start is to check your loved one’s financial records. Check their files, safe deposit boxes and computer for any financial receipts that might contain information about a life insurance policy. You might also uncover a copy of the policy or a checkbook that lists payments made to an insurance carrier.
Additionally, you could look through your loved one’s address book for the phone number or email address of their insurance agent. You might find a business card that could help you figure out who to contact.
Contact insurance carriers
If you know which insurance carrier your loved one might have purchased their life insurance policy through, then you can reach out directly to them. You might be able to find this information on an old policy statement or premium payment bill. Keep in mind that insurance companies are not obligated to contact a beneficiary of a deceased policyholder, so if you know you’re the beneficiary (or believe you might be) it’s important to take the time to follow the necessary steps to start a life insurance claim after your loved one dies.
Use an online policy locator
There are several online tools available to help people locate their loved one’s life insurance policies. One popular option is the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC). The NAIC offers a Life Insurance Policy Locator tool that sends out a request to participating insurance carriers asking them to search their records for any type of contract they had with the deceased. If a match is found, the carrier will reach out to the person who is the beneficiary of the policy or the person who has legal standing to recover the information.
Another tool is the Missing Money website, which can put you in touch with financial institutions and insurance carriers who may owe benefits to your deceased loved one.
Still having trouble? Consider contacting a service provider to find the policy
If you are having a tough time locating any information about your loved one’s financials, some third-party providers can help. They can also help you fill out claim forms to receive the policy benefits if you are the designated beneficiary. Keep in mind that you might have to pay a fee for these services.