Where Did Dad's Life Insurance Money Go?

Dear Insurance Adviser,

My father passed away three years ago and had a life insurance policy, but no one knew who the beneficiary was. I spoke with the insurance company upon his death and had to send it a copy of his death certificate. We have never heard back from the insurance company, and so far no one in the family claims to have received any insurance money.

Is there a way to see if policy proceeds were distributed?


Dear Susan,

Let me start with the obvious. If you have an insurance company name, then you must have a policy number. Do you have the actual life insurance policy? If so, you will find the name of the beneficiary and possible contingent beneficiary on the copy of the original insurance application, attached to the back of the policy.

Your father died three years ago. Were the premiums paid through his death, or is it possible the coverage lapsed and there was no coverage in force when he died?

I suggest that you talk to the insurance company's claims department manager and explain your situation. If the company asked for a death certificate, then it must have set up a claim.

There are certain privacy laws that insurance companies have to respect, but I think you can at least be told whether or not the death benefit was paid to someone.

If a claims manager is unable or unwilling to help, try contacting your state insurance department to see whether it can track your father's life insurance policy for you.

Best wishes.

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