When a loved one dies, the process of winding down his or her estate can be overwhelming. If your loved one kept well-organized and documented records, the process of identifying and locating their assets - including life insurance policies - may be fairly simple. Unfortunately, it is often difficult to determine whether or not your loved one owned any in-force life insurance at the time of his or her death.
If you are not sure whether or not your departed family member or close friend had a life policy that was in effect when he or she died, following these steps may help:
First, your deceased loved one's financial records may hold the answers you are looking for. Check in paper files, desks, and safe deposit boxes for insurance policies, policy benefit statements, or premium remittance receipts. Cancelled checks or online payments may also show that the deceased made payments to an insurance company.
Checking the deceased's contacts, looking for e-mail addresses and telephone numbers or office addresses for an insurance agent, financial advisor, and/or attorney may yield important clues as well.
A variety of online tools and resources are available to help put people in touch with their late loved ones' life insurance policies also.
The National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) provides an online Life Insurance Policy Locator tool. When the NAIC receives a request to search for a policy, it will contact participating insurance companies requesting that they search their records for life insurance policies or annuity contracts your deceased loved one owned. If a match is found, the life insurance company will respond directly to the requestor, if the requestor was a beneficiary under the policy or contract, or otherwise has legal standing to receive the information.
It's helpful to know whether you are looking for information on a policy owned by your loved one's employer, that was sold through an agent or broker, or that was purchased directly from the insurer.
The Missing Money website can help put you in touch with insurance companies and other organizations who may have owed financial benefits to your deceased loved one. Using the resources on the site, you can search multiple states' unclaimed property records in just minutes.
It should not cost you anything to claim property when you locate something that was owed to your loved one or to his or her estate, but be prepared to provide documentation.
Sometimes, reaching out to major insurance companies can be another way to help people find life insurance policies in their deceased loved one's name. Some of the major insurance carriers in the country provide free tools and forms on their websites.
You also have the option of paying a third-party provider to do the legwork for you, helping you locate and complete claim forms to receive policy benefits. In most cases, you can expect to pay a flat fee, whether or not the provider actually finds any policy benefits for you.
If your loved one purchased a life insurance policy through a Symmetry Financial Group insurance professional, we can help you understand the claims process, and the information you'll need to provide in order to receive benefits under the policy or annuity contract.
We are committed to serving our clients' needs throughout the entire life of their insurance policies - including when it's time to file a claim for death benefits.
To learn more about how Symmetry Financial Group is different from other insurance agencies, contact us today.