Follow
Share

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?

This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.
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!
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

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!
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

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.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

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?
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

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
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

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?
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

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.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

Here's another article with good links: http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/magazine/2013/02/how-to-find-lost-life-insurance-policies/index.htm
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

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.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

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.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

Thank you everyone for your great responses! It looks like I have some work ahead of me, but I still have almost a year until my mother has to apply for Medicaid. Igloo, you save your post and use it as an answer any time someone asks about Medicaid - you've got lots of info in there.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

Good luck on the Medicaid app. The more paperwork you provide the better.

For life insurance it's sticky as you cannot find out any information unless you are the insured, the DPOA (not just POA) for the insured with a notarized copy of the DPOA or the beneficiary after death. More on how to get around that below.

Most of the policy locator sites are based on death/beneficiary, so that is no use if the insured is alive. All their data is based on death notices via SS administration or state agencies. MIB Solutions is a company that does this well.

But the bigger issue is you don't know what's out there? Right?
If you have old bank statements or cancelled checks go thru those. You are looking for identical amounts on a monthly basis. Insurance old-school style was
a monthly payment, smallish amounts $ 13.50 month sort of thing. If you can find one of those, it's your clue on who to contact.

Depending on your mom's age it could be 15 -20 years since the policy was paid up and the insurance company is reinvesting the dividend into the policy. So if that happened, then she wouldn't have to get an annual statement but the policy is still in force. So there may not be anything on paper mailed for the last 15 - 20 years.

If your dad died and there was probate done, then his life insurance policy will be listed in the probate asset list. The county clerk will have this information in his probate file. Probate is public info (I think in most states) so you can go down to the clerk's office and pay for a copy of it without needing a DPOA or taking mom (FUN!). It's usually pretty cheap but can take a while to get if he's dead a long time ago (like 2 weeks or so if it's predigital age for death). Actually having a copy of his probate proceedings can be real helpful to fill in gaps on financial & family history. More importantly whomever he bought from is probably the same as mom.

If your folks were involved in their church then there is a very good chance that
their life insurance policy was one that was "sold" through the church - actually by an independent agent who sold it. Lutheran churches did this quite a bit in the 50's, 60's, 70's. You might ask at the church that she went to. Maybe contact the ladies auxillary older members to see who they bought their insurance from.

Same idea with neighbors if she lived in an area for a good period of time. Old school insurance was really word-of-mouth and local.

If she or you dad belonged to an organization like Mason's, they could have bought from that source. At of women got policies through agents who saw them at Order of the Eastern Star meetings. So think if they belonged to an organization and contact the local order to talk to one of the historians to see who sold & for whom.
Same deal if he or she was professional like an engineer or teacher, those policies
were sold to members as special rates. So if mom was a teacher, contact the teachers union to ask.

If not of this seems to be of help, then what you can do is stretch things a bit and do a form letter with a copy of your DPOA and send it to the big life insurance companies stating your mom had a policy with them and lost it. You will need to include all her info like DOD, SS, if married the spouse info too.

The biggest are: Mass Mutual; Prudential; John Hancock - older policy dividends were converted into stock in the 1990's just keeping the initial face value; Alexander Hamilton Life; Thivent (Lutheran's); MetLife; Northwestern Mutual; American National (big in Texas).

You will get an initial response quickly, and then about 8 weeks for them to research out and get back.

If this is all about showing she doesn't have a policy that can be cashed out for Medicaid, then writing 5 or so companies and getting a negative response should take care of that.

The biggest look back for Medicaid will involve the last 3 years of banking and investment. I've done other posting on this so you can look back on this site to find. If she is using up her own money to pay for NH for since Jan, you have a pattern of her finances for half a year which is what their looking for.

If she has written checks over $ 500 in the last 5 years that aren't obvious as to why (like Chase Visa, Joe Smith, DDS), then you might want to get a receipt or short documentation on what and why.

If she has a bunch of bank accounts, it would be a good idea to have them all closed out and deposited into a single account that get's direct deposit of her SS
and any retirement or annuity with you as a signature and POD. It will make your life easier and the caseworker's too. One sticky is having an account from a bank that is not in the state where the applicant lives - it's hard for them to check on this and causes a glitch in the review. So close that out and get a letter from the bank officer the day you do it which you can include in the Medicaid application later on.

My mom still has her home (it's now subject to MERP and that's totally fine) so quite a bit of money since 2005 has gone to home repair. For us, those were the expenses that were questioned by the caseworker. I didn't take over her finances till 2008 so I had to reconstruct 2 years. Good luck.
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

I am Nebraska's only certified guardian/conservator and receive calls to care for indigent elderly persons usually with no family. I gathered 6-7 55 gallon bags of "paperwork" from the home of one wonderful lady just to find out what she had for resources, insurance, a will, etc. On a beautiiful day I sat outside under an old oak tree to sort out the information. And what a revelation I had. All her paperwork told a story of this tough pioneer lady who farmed, cared for her elderly parents until they died, then worked in a nursing home caring for others. Her social security check was $150 per month, etc. I honor those hours I spent going through coat pockets, chests, under the bed, in drawers...and discovered her love for God and her church. I found what was needed and a few calls provided all the answers. Revel in what you find. There is a pot of gold(a story) at the end of every rainbow(your mother). Just writing to encourage you in your search.
Helpful Answer (5)
Report

All of the above ansers are helpful - I remember my serach for all the important papers and going through them all too well. When you apply for Medicaid, they defitniely have ways of finding things that we don't. They found multiple policies some of which turned out to be just companies changing names. I did a lot of phone calling and faxing my parent's POAs all over the country for this to get it all sorted out. Medicaid primarily needed cash value and face value and made me get statements from the insurers to that effect for most of them that were unclear on hte paper documents we had in the house. .
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

I would start with looking through cancelled checks and credit card statements if she kept them (banks keep records for 7 years I believe). If not, try writing a letter to the major insurance companies in her town to inquire. Does she have a living will? Sometimes these policies are listed in the documents or her preparer may have a copy of them. Did she have a banker, lawyer, or family member who helped her with these decisions back then? Did she drive in the past? Find out who her agent was...people often buy all their insurance from the same agent. Contact your parent's employers...they may have had a group policy. Does she have an old address book? Her ins. agent may be listed there. There are several companies that will search for you for a fee: NAIC, MIB, etc. I also found a website called "Missing Money.com" - unfortunately, this is for searching after someone has passed and they are unable to find heirs.
good luck...these things are never any fun!
Helpful Answer (6)
Report

This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.