If you are responsible for closing out a deceased loved one’s financial concerns, one of your tasks might be to find out if a life insurance policy exists for them.
Estate planning can be complicated and time-consuming. In some cases, individuals get all their affairs in order before they pass on. But, in the event of an unexpected death, family and loved ones may need to take a more active role in managing the deceased’s estate. This includes financial matters, like life insurance.
Locating the deceased’s life insurance policy
When you are managing a deceased’s financial matters, you may find everything you need in a filing cabinet or on their computer. This is not always the case, and it can take a lot of time to locate all relevant paperwork.
If you know your loved one had a life insurance policy, here is a list of where to look:
Where to search for a lost life insurance policy of a deceased
- To find if a life insurance policy exists for a deceased person, start with possible storage places, like safety deposit boxes or filing cabinets.
- Go through the deceased’s papers, checking for policies, statements or notices from an insurance company.
- Review banking records for any evidence of premium payments.
- Contact the deceased’s insurance agent (if known) and other advisors, like lawyers and accountants. Sometimes, policies are stored in their files.
- Contact the deceased’s employer, or former employer if the deceased was retired. The Human Resources Department would have information on group life insurance for active or retired employees.
- If the deceased was receiving group disability benefits, find out if there was any group life insurance included.
- Contact any associations to which the deceased belonged. Many offer members life insurance. For example, lawyers, accountants, construction workers, teachers, government employees or engineers belong to associations.
- Check with credit card companies to see if the deceased purchased any life or travel insurance through the card.
- If the deceased passed away while travelling, check whether special insurance was purchased for the trip. Sometimes, travel insurance provides a death benefit.
What to do if you can’t find the policy
Sometimes there really is no paper trail or email about the deceased’s life insurance policy. If you cannot find the policy, OLHI may be able to do the search on your behalf by contacting our member companies to see if they hold the policy.
This link explains our policy search process, including:
- How OLHI’s search works
- When we can and cannot do a search
- How to submit a search request to OLHI
Ask for help when you need it
Losing a loved one is never easy. It can be even harder if you’re managing the deceased’s affairs. Make sure you ask for emotional support when you need it and take the time you need to grieve in your own way.
Helping Canadians find a life insurance policy for a deceased loved one is an important part of our public service. We’re here for you if you believe your loved one had a life insurance policy but you can’t find it.