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Jimmy George

Possible Life Insurance Proceeds

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I have a friend whose relative passed away recently, and she has reason to believe the relative may have named her beneficiary of a life insurance policy (or a will).  She is alienated from the remainder of the family, so she is getting no information.  She merely has the deceased relative's name and date of birth.  Is there any way for her to generally check to determine if she were the beneficiary on any insurance policies of this relative?  She remembers one life insurance company this particular relative (who lived/died in Virginia) used years ago, but other than this, she doesn't have any more information to go on.  If she contacted that particular insurance company, would they be under any obligation to affirm/deny whether they have a policy for this relative, and whether she is listed as a beneficiary without having to present the death certificate (or if a death certificate had already been presented by another person)?  Would she be able to determine whether she was a beneficiary of the deceased relative's will?  If a will were filed in the decedent's county courthouse, would it lead my friend to the name of the attorney that prepared it (and may be holding it in order to probate, etc.)?  Would an attorney be able to actually help?  I think this gives enough of a flavor for what my friend is up against.  Thanks for any help to facilitate this process.   

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Insurance proceeds pass outside of the estate or any will.  If she is a named beneficiary, the insurance company will attempt to locate her.  If they can't find her, then the money will be escheated to the state and held by the state treasury's unclaimed property program.  She can search there periodically to see if it's listed.  If it ever shows up, she can file a claim.   If the relative died in VA, here's the link to that unclaim property search site:  https://www.vamoneysearch.org/

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1 - If there was a will and it was probated it would be public record in the county probate court where the relative lived/died. She can look up the relative's name in the court records.

 

2 - There are two services that might be able to locate a life insurance policy on a particular individual:

 

a - https://www.naic.org/documents/consumer_alert_locate_lost_life_insurance_benefit.htm

 

b - http://www.mib.com/lost_life_insurance.html

 

Both those services were set up by the insurance industry. If a policy gets located, the insurance company ought to be cooperative in advising her if she is a beneficiary or not.

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20 hours ago, Jimmy George said:

she has reason to believe the relative may have named her beneficiary of a life insurance policy (or a will).

 

What is that reason?

 

 

20 hours ago, Jimmy George said:

She is alienated from the remainder of the family, so she is getting no information.

 

Has she asked?  How long ago did the person in question die?  Does your friend live in the same area where the deceased lived?

 

 

20 hours ago, Jimmy George said:

If she contacted that particular insurance company, would they be under any obligation to affirm/deny whether they have a policy for this relative, and whether she is listed as a beneficiary without having to present the death certificate (or if a death certificate had already been presented by another person)?

 

There's no downside in contacting the insurer and asking.

 

 

20 hours ago, Jimmy George said:

Would she be able to determine whether she was a beneficiary of the deceased relative's will?

 

If the will is probated, there will be records at the courthouse in the county where the deceased lived.

 

 

20 hours ago, Jimmy George said:

If a will were filed in the decedent's county courthouse, would it lead my friend to the name of the attorney that prepared it (and may be holding it in order to probate, etc.)?

 

We have no way of knowing.  Some attorneys put their info on wills they prepare; some don't.

 

 

20 hours ago, Jimmy George said:

Would an attorney be able to actually help?

 

Maybe.

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She can check probate court records for that county online, on a regular basis, perhaps once a week.   Right now the family may be grieving and whoever has the will is eventually going to file it perhaps within 30 to 120 days.  At that point you can order a copy of the will by mail by contacting the courthouse.

 

Yes, she can go ahead and contact the insurance company to inquire and they may take time to do the research and notify her if she is a beneficiary, or they may tell her they can not do so because of privacy reasons.  The executor will have a legal obligation to notify her about anything she qualifies to receive from the will and if the executor is an honest responsible person, he/she will also notify her about the insurance policy proceeds, if any.

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