DogGrrrl Asked May 2011

How can I find out if my mother has a life insurance policy?

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My mother is in a NH since Jan 2011 and I'm her DPOA. I'm trying to get all my ducks in a row for eventual Medicaid application. My mother's paperwork is a shambles and I'm afraid some of it may have been lost over the years. I don't see anything pertaining to a life insurance policy, but there may be one. I can't ask her, as she has dementia. Is there anything I can do to find out?

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vstefans Dec 2015
Well, the flip answer is to go ahead and apply for Medicaid because THEY will find out. Then you get to Google for the companies they find and track down the duplicates and the name changes and get documentation of which ones have face value and which ones don't, because they don't necessarily get all the details for you.

You will need Mom's DOB, SSN, prior addresses or names. You have probably already started a reference book with all that - mine was a purple spiral notebook with all the account numbers, contact names and numbers, and a big burgundy folder with all the legal documents, plus I started a Dropbox folder just for Mom&Dad where I scanned stuff so I could e-mail or print and fax when working on it long distance. Going through all the places where important papers might be stashed takes some persistence and creativity if they were not well organized, and maybe even a little temerity. You may find a few other treasures along the way, you never know...I found a bunch of my old baby bottles up in my folks' attic and we found enough wads of cash to cover most of my FILs clean-up and funeral expenses stuffed into drawers here and there :-).

Maggie is right about just looking through any and all correspondence and records - and maybe you will find pens or fridge magnets that have company names on them. Now that could be a red herring, or a clue to call and see if there was ever an account. They will usually make you send POA papers before they divulge much. I do not know if an eldercare attorney or life care planner would be abel to do more legwork for you or not; I do know that one lady from Metropolitan taking care of our life insurance account was able to track down an old 501 K from one of my husband's former employers and that was kind of cool because he never knew where or how to do that himself. It is a lot of work and your Mom is blessed to have you doing it for her, that's for sure!
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igloo572 Dec 2015
Harassed - my guess is that mom has "heard" that insurance companies have issued stock & she thinks this applies to her. She is right & she is wrong.....what happened in the 1990's & early 2000's in that some mutual life insurance companies changed from mutuals to equity companies. Under a mutual a policy holder is an owner - State Farm is a mutual. But equity based insurance companies issue stock which anyone can buy & be a shareholder - Allstate is equity based. You still with me? Ok? Well John Hancock was a mutual that changed to an equity like years ago (maybe 2001) and policy owners on the old, old policies had to get issued stock for the switch to equity to be done. The policy remained in force at whatever was done initially too. But you got stock based on policy. It wasn't anything major in stock....and I'd bet most took the cash out rather than keep the shares as most folks don't own stocks. Hancock had it set up to either keep the stock or cash out either to reinvest or get a check. Also it would have produced a tax document for the year done.

Your mom probably has heard this true story for Hancock and has transposed it to be her & MetLife.

BUT MetLife did the opposite of Hancock and has gone from a equity to a mutual. Met finished up the mutualization this year (2015). I have a MetLife universal policy and Met sent out a letter on the switch -basically a we love you & theres no change letter - but the switch to mutualization made no difference unless you bought shares when Met went public in 1999. comprende?

Yeah it's confusing even without schizophrenia. Good luck in explain this!
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pamstegma Nov 2015
My sister has a $1K life insurance policy that was taken out when she was born. That's 61 years ago and I still get annual statements. The reinvested dividends have increased the policy to about $3K.
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When I was in college, my mother put her life insurance policy in my name because she was receiving SSI and was told she could not own a policy. It has been about 23 years since she signed her policy over to me and I have since signed it back to her. She is now claiming her life insurance company MetLife sent $840 in stocks to me. I never received anything and I called MetLife myself to make sure their records were not in error and spoke to two representatives (one in Life Insurance, one in Stocks) who say they have no record of my having received anything. She still insists a MetLife rep told her I received stocks from her policy. I must mention that my mother suffers from schizophrenia and is mentally unstable. I guess my question is, would a rep be able to give her any information about me anyway, including any checks or stocks dispersed, or is there another way I can find out why her information about this is so different from my own and from what the reps I spoke to told me? Are stocks even sent out in the form of cash?
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There is no central clearing house for life insurance policies. You might look at old checking account statements or check registers to see if you can find a record of any premiums being paid
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Lawanza Apr 2015
My husband's mom is no going to make it' I told him to see if she had insurance , he would not do it , his brother who took all her money when she was alive, might have a insurance policy on her how can we find out?
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akdaughter Nov 2013
Tammy, I am not sure if you mean that your mother had a life insurance policy that should have paid out after her death, or if your mother had money from some other type of policy. Either way, you could try to contact your state's unclaimed property office which is usually a part of the state auditor's office. They keep records of unclaimed bank accounts and other assets until a rightful owner can be found.
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blannie Nov 2013
Here's another article with good links: http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/magazine/2013/02/how-to-find-lost-life-insurance-policies/index.htm
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blannie Nov 2013
Hi Tammy, how long ago did your mom and aunt pass away? Has it been years and years? I would think the insurance company would have paid out to your guardian (i.e. your aunt) when your mom died, but I'm not an insurance person, so I'm not sure about that.
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tammy13 Nov 2013
My mother died from cancer when I was eleven yrs. My aunt her sister had custody of my brother and I then she died 2 years later. My mother had money from her insurance policy but of couse since i was only eleven I don't have the slightest clue where the money could be. i have asked family members but of couse they act like they don't know what I am talking about. Some advice would be greatly appreciated.
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