I found out I’m the sole beneficiary of a life insurance policy from a distant relative. How do I determine if I will get any money?
UPDATED: Mar 12, 2013
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Asked March 12, 2013
There is not a statute of limitations on collecting the proceeds of a life insurance policy. Even if years have gone by since the policy matured, the legal beneficiary of the policy can still collect. It is still possible that the policy has no value, such as a policy that was allowed to lapse, but otherwise all you need is the policy and proof that you are beneficiary.
If the owner of the policy did not pay their premiums are decided to cancel the policy, you may discover that there is nothing to claim. It is also possible that the policy was borrowed against, reducing the face value. However, if you are the sole beneficiary, anything left of the policy can be claimed.
You will need to contact the life insurance company which issued the policy, present them with a death certificate or other proof of death, and then show identification which establishes you as the beneficiary being sought. Keep in mind that the insurance company may have turned the proceeds of the policy over to the estate of the deceased or to a state unclaimed property division.
If the policy has been turned over to the state, it is still yours to claim. Contact the unclaimed property department of your state, and search on both your name and the name of the deceased person. If you locate the money in question, you will need valid identification and proof of your right to the money. Unclaimed money does not expire, so any value which was bequeathed to you will be available once you show the necessary proof of ownership.
In this situation, locating the policy may be the most difficult part of the search. If you are not sure of the company which issued the policy, try looking through the deceased person's bank records, or check with any insurance companies the person was known to have other policies with. Many times, locating one insurance policy, even a homeowner's policy, could lead you to the company which wrote a life insurance policy as well.
Answered March 12, 2013 by Anonymous