When people buy life insurance, they don’t always tell their loved ones they’ve done so. Some keep their lawyers informed, talk about the policy in their will or tell their trustee, but others buy a policy and then forget about it, telling no one. While some survivors are lucky enough to find policy documents or canceled payments when cleaning out their loved one’s home so they know to file a claim, other policies are simply lost and forgotten in the decades after their purchase—or are they?
Finding Unclaimed Benefits
When a beneficiary doesn’t claim a life insurance death benefit, the proceeds are often sent to the insured’s state association of unclaimed property. There they might stay for decades, waiting to be claimed. To find out if you have unclaimed life insurance benefits or any other property being held by the unclaimed property administrators in your state, visit Unclaimed.org. From there you will be sent to a site where you can do a search for unclaimed money in your name across the U.S. The site’s results aren’t limited to unclaimed life insurance benefits. You can also search your deceased loved one’s name and find out if they had any unclaimed property that you, or the executor, can claim.
Ensuring Your Family Doesn’t Have to Search
It’s better if your family doesn’t have to search for unclaimed property benefits after you’re gone, and there are many ways you can make sure this doesn’t happen. First you can let your beneficiaries know that there is a policy out there. Let them know who the insurance company(ies) is/are and how to contact the company(ies) to make a claim. The second way is to name a trust as the owner and beneficiary of your policies. That way, not only can you secure the tax-free benefit but you can also ensure that the benefit will be paid out to the people you want it to be.
If a tree falls in the forest and no one hears it, it still falls. If a life insurance policy is purchased and none of the beneficiaries know, however, there is a chance they might never see the death benefit you wanted them to have. Make the necessary arrangements to guarantee that your family gets what you’ve paid for.