The executor of the estate can request access to the deceased’s bank records and safe deposit box. The physical policy may be in the safe deposit box. If not, go through the account statements looking for premium payments that may be monthly, quarterly or annually. You may have to go back 10 years or more if the person purchased the policy decades ago and had long since paid it in full. Additionally, ask the bank if they issued a life insurance policy since they do offer insurance products to their customers.
Look for paper stubs with handwritten initials if you cannot find a life insurance policy issued before the 1970s. It was common to make cash payment every month with the clerk initialing the stub. The stub booklet should have an inside page with the person’s name and account number. If not, check the content for the name of the insurance company and contact them to do a policy search.
The individual may have life insurance as an employee benefit, even if retired with a pension. Additionally, your loved one may have vested benefits with previous employers. Contact the employee benefits department of each employer to find out if there is unclaimed life insurance.
Check the state bureau of unclaimed property database in every state, even if your loved one never lived there. Just like any business, other corporations can acquire insurance companies. The acquiring company may change the name and physical location of the corporate office. Additionally, the person who purchased the life insurance policy may have lived briefly in another state long ago, perhaps while in the military.
Accountant or Lawyer
Some people leave important paperwork, including a life insurance policy, with their accountant or lawyer. Notify these professionals of the person’s death and ask if they have possession of any policies. Additionally, the person’s tax records may indicate payments to an insurance company.
If you cannot find any proof of life insurance, but you believe a policy does exist, mail a letter requesting a policy search to as many insurance companies as you believe necessary. Insurance companies are only required to give the money to the state if they know that the person is deceased and no claim made. However, if no one notified them of the death, they may still have the funds.