What to do When Someone Dies
The sadness that lingers when someone close to you dies can oftentimes overshadow the financial and legal issues facing the survivors. Dealing with the loss of a loved one can be an emotionally devastating event. As a result, business matters might get pushed to the side during the period of grieving.
As difficult a time as this is, however, there is a responsibility to carry out their wishes and you should do so in a timely manner.
For the beneficiary of a life insurance policy, here’s what to do when someone dies—a step-by-step process to guide you through this trying time and help you claim the benefit that has been entrusted to you.
Claiming Life Insurance Benefits
The benefits from a life insurance policy can provide much-needed income for surviving family members after a death—to help maintain a certain quality of life, to be used to help pay for funeral expenses, or help settle the deceased’s affairs.
First and foremost, the insurance agency who sold the policy should be contacted to determine who the beneficiary is—or if there is more than one.
In order to get any information about the deceased’s policy, you must be the beneficiary or the Executor of the Estate. If the beneficiary is deceased and no secondary beneficiary is listed, the benefit usually goes to the estate to be used as instructed by the will, the next of kin, or to any creditors who are still owed money.
The claim process with the insurance company should begin as quickly as possible after the death of your loved one.
To begin the process:
- Let People Know – This might seem like a fairly obvious step, but the first thing you need to do is let people know that your loved one has died. Naturally, this includes family, friends, colleagues, and the insurance company where the deceased held a policy as soon as possible. You will need to gather the following documents to collect the benefit.
- Get a Copy of the Death Certificate - You will need to get a certified copy of the original death certificate to present to the insurance company. This document can be obtained from the funeral home, your local Department of Records, or the Vital Statistics Office.
- Get a Copy of the Insurance Policy – Find the life insurance policy for the deceased and send a copy of it to the insurance company as well. If for some reason you can’t find the policy, simply let the insurance provider know. They will verify the policy along with the passing of the insured.
The insurance agency may have you fill out a claim form or additional forms that reports the death. In some cases, an insurance company adjustor may contact you with a few routine questions. This is merely a safeguard against insurance fraud and should not be considered out of the ordinary.
If for some reason you are not certain who the insurance company is, check to see if your loved one left behind an organized estate. There should be a record of life insurance policies and the names of the agents or agencies to contact. This type of information is usually included in a will or filed with the attorney who was responsible for drafting the will.
Understanding the Value of the Policy
Claiming life insurance benefits is not always as cut and dry as it might seem. For instance, after you find out what type of life insurance policy your loved one had, you will need to see what the policy is worth and if any credit or mortgage insurance was attached to it that might reduce the overall amount of the benefit.
Additionally, if the deceased still had a significant amount of debt at the time of their death, the beneficiary might be required to use some of the insurance benefit to pay off the outstanding amount. This is typically not the case, but creditor laws vary from state to state, so it will need to be considered. Check with an attorney where the insured lived to be certain.
Life Insurance: A Smart Investment
A life insurance policy is not only a smart investment, the benefits can make a world of difference to those who have been left behind. Contact True Blue Life Insurance at 1-866-816-2100 to discuss your options for purchasing a life insurance policy that is right for you.