Locating life insurance after someone passes away can be a long and challenging task. There’s usually no record of the life insurance policy in a database and you are left trying to figure it out on your own. It’s bad enough you have to deal with the passing of a loved one, but now you have to put the pieces together and locate documents. It can be a rough experience, especially for family members who just lost a breadwinner and depend on the life insurance proceeds to keep the family together.
If your loved one did not keep a copy of the life insurance policy or tell you which insurance company it was with, you may have to do some sleuthing of your own. We have some tips for you.
There is a database for life insurance, but not all policies are listed where you can find them. Often, someone dies and names an executor in the will. An executor’s job is to complete the succession and make sure everything runs smoothly. However, most executors in Louisiana are not provided with all of the paperwork they need to be successful. They have to do some research and leg work to locate the missing life insurance policy in Louisiana.
If your deceased loved one life in a small town, your job may not be impossible. You can call around to various agents and track it down. However, they probably won’t talk to you unless you have been issued “Letters of Independent Executorship” by a Louisiana court. These letters give you the ability to gather information from institutions that normally wouldn’t speak to you.
Here are 15 Ways to Locate the Insurance Policy of Your Deceased Loved One in Louisiana:
Contact Their Attorney
There’s a good chance the attorney that prepared the will know the location of the missing insurance policy. If they had a consultation to handle their estate matters, the life insurance aspect was undoubtedly brought up. Most attorneys will ask about life insurance when developing an estate plan for a client.
Contact Local Financial Advisors
Financial advisors advise clients on numerous issues and one of them is life insurance. Many local banks have financial advisors on staff that assist clients on their finances. Most professionals advise clients to purchase life insurance to protect their families in the event they die before meeting their financial goals.
Search Through Mail
Life insurance companies in Louisiana normally send out statements monthly or quarterly. You may have to wait a while, but it should eventually arrive if they had a life insurance policy.
Check Old Bank Statements
You can find a lot of information by checking old bank statements. It could cause eye strain, but you will be able to tell if payments have been made to the life insurance company.
Check With Their Insurance Carrier
Most insurance companies like State Farm sell the full line of insurance products and give discounts if you bundle various lines of insurance with them. If they had their auto insurance through a particular carrier, it would be beneficial to contact that agent to see if they had purchased life insurance through them. There’s a good chance they won’t speak with you unless you can show them the required paperwork.
There’s a good chance that your loved one had a group life policy with their employer. If they had multiple jobs then you will need to call all of their previous employers to determine whether or not they had group life insurance policies. It may take some time but could be worth it in the long run.
Locate Tax Returns
Permanent life insurance policies often pay interest on policies. Also, you can take loans against permanent life insurance policies and your loved one may have interest expenses that were paid to the life insurance carrier. Income tax returns may be difficult to decipher, so you could take them to a tax preparer for assistance.
Check the MIB Database
As discussed previously, there is no database for every life insurance policy. However, there is a database of applications since 1996. There is a fee involved and a high chance of not locating the life insurance policy, but it is an option.
Try the NAIC Life Insurance Policy Locator Service
The NAIC (National Association of Insurance Commissioners) can help assist you with locating a life insurance policy of a deceased family member or loved one. There are a few caveats, however. The NAIC will process your request to locate the missing life insurance policy and will ask participating companies to search their records. It may take quite a while and not every company participates in the life insurance policy locator service, but it’s worth a shot.
Contact Louisiana Insurance Departments
You may have some luck calling the Louisiana Insurance Department.
Review the Louisiana Unclaimed Property Office
In the event an insurance company cannot locate a beneficiary to a life insurance policy they hold, they must turn the funds over to the State of Louisiana to be held as “unclaimed property.” Not foolproof, but it’s a start.
Hire an Investigator
You can find companies online that will search for a missing life insurance policy that your loved one may have purchased. They will charge a fee but can help you locate the policy and save time. Read reviews before any money is exchanged to make sure you’re not getting taken advantage of. These companies contact insurance companies to find any policies your loved one may have had.
Check Their Email
This may feel like an invasion of privacy, but it can be an effective way to locate an old life insurance policy. Just go to the search option and try a few search terms related to life insurance and see what pops up. There’s a good chance your loved one was emailed a copy of the life insurance policy at some point. You can then use this information to contact the insurance company.
Ask Friends and Family
Life insurance is a topic that comes up in discussions quite often. Most people have discussed it with their friends at some point and there’s a good chance someone will at least know the company they had purchased the life insurance policy from.
Locate Bank Lock Box
Many people store important documents in their bank lockbox for safekeeping. Insurance policies can burn up in a house fire, but a bank lockbox can keep them safe for decades. If you’re not already an authorized user of your loved one’s lock box, you may have to present the proper paperwork to the bank manager in order to gain access to the box and its contents. You may need to speak to a Louisiana succession attorney to draft your Letters of Administration or something similar to allow you to speak with bank personnel regarding your loved one’s property.
We hope this article helps you in your search to find missing or lost life insurance policies that your loved one named you as a beneficiary.
Andries Law Firm, LLC
Louisiana Succession Law
Attorney R. Jerome Andries
Disclaimer: This article in no way constitutes legal advice, nor does it intend to give legal advice in any way. You must speak to an attorney for legal advice.