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Julie Garber

Are You the Beneficiary of Unclaimed Life Insurance?

By April 26, 2011

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According to an article by Paul Sullivan for The New York Times, hundreds of millions of dollars in life insurance is currently sitting with insurance companies or the unclaimed funds offices of each of the states. For example, since 2000, the state of New York has received over $400 million in unclaimed life insurance, and the state of Florida currently holds about $1 billion in unclaimed funds, $355 million of which is life insurance.

Depending on state law, the insurance can sit anywhere from a few years to over ten years and if the beneficiaries can't be found, then the funds will escheat to the state where the deceased person lived at the time of their death. In New York one unclaimed life insurance policy has been sitting in the state's coffers since 2004 and is valued at a whopping $1.7 million. One reason the problem is so prevalent is because with some types of insurance the policy will continue to retain a death benefit even if the policy owner quits paying the premiums. And contrary to popular belief, there isn't a national "life insurance claims hotline" that one can call to inquire about any insurance proceeds that may be due and payable.

If you think that a deceased loved one may have named you as a beneficiary of a life insurance policy but you can't find the policy, then check with the unclaimed funds office of the state where your loved one lived at the time of death.

January 28, 2013 at 8:07 pm
(1) edward crozier says:

in 2005 before my father passed away he said that would receive some money when he pass and its been 8 years and i haven,t herd any thing i,ve been trying to look for myself and had no success.if there is any way you can help please email me and i will get back to you.thank you.

September 11, 2013 at 3:23 pm
(2) SHEIK says:

My father recently passed away. Before he died from a short illness. He asked me about the family home and I would keep the truck I was making payments for the last four years. I am the only surviving biological son. Now his wife refuses to sign the truck over to me and has not had a reading of the will or had it and did not invite me. How do I find out who the beneficiaries are? Baltimore City Maryland

September 11, 2013 at 9:33 pm
(3) Julie Ann Garber, Esq. says:

Sheik, please accept my condolences on the loss of your father. Please see this article with regard to locating copies of wills in Maryland:


Best regards,

Julie Ann Garber, Esq.
Attorney, The Andersen Firm, A Professional Corporation
Guide to Wills & Estate Planning
About.com | Need. Know. Accomplish.

The information contained in this comment is not legal or tax advice and is not a
substitute for legal or tax advice. For legal advice, please consult with an
attorney. For tax advice, please consult with an accountant or tax attorney.

March 16, 2014 at 7:44 am
(4) cassandra says:

please help where do i go to find my gramals life insurens she allays promised me i live in cal and she lived and died in indiana i also have hundreds of dollors in saving bonds ive saw and used to get sent it took me along time to find her after the church moved her where we had no contact dont know what to do

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