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Can insurance policies be lost?

As estate administration attorneys, it is very interesting to see what family members learn about someone after they pass away. Perhaps there are long-standing, clandestine relationships or personal achievements the deceased was too humble to share. Regardless of the family secrets that come out when a loved one passes away, insurance information should not be one of them.

Suffice it to say, insurance coverage can be one of the many things that “gets lost” when a loved one passes. This could be because family members never knew that premiums were still being paid (and coverage still applied) or the insurance company never notified beneficiaries or next of kin that benefits were available.

It is not uncommon for a family member to carry insurance sponsored by a bank, credit union or former employer that loved ones may not know about. This often happens because the details of such policies are often not mentioned specifically in a will.

Because of this, an experienced estate administration attorney can help to ensure that valuable policies are not lost in the chaos of laying someone to rest. A skilled lawyer can consult large life insurance databases to check if any surviving policies apply. But in the absence of such a database, finding such policies may be difficult.

To help in avoiding this situation, perhaps an insurance policy can be owned by a revocable living trust or an estate tax resistant irrevocable life insurance trust. If you need more information about these instruments and how they can help in administering an estate, an experienced attorney can advise you.

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