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How do Life Insurance Companies Confirm Death and What Documentation is Needed?

written by: •edited by: Rebecca Scudder•updated: 3/28/2011

If you are a beneficiary on a life insurance policy it is important that you know the answer to "how do life insurance companies confirm death". This is critical so that you do not have to wait an extended period of time in order to claim a death benefit. Here are some of the typical requirements.

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    Life Insurance Companies and Dealing With Beneficiaries

    death certificate Unlike real estate, life insurance typically specifies a beneficiary. In order to claim the proceeds from a life insurance policy, the beneficiary is required to provide specific information to the company in order for them to process the claim. One of the challenges that many people face is wondering how do life insurance companies confirm death. Unlike some other assets, life insurance policies do not automatically go to the spouse, even if there is a will. However, beneficiaries should understand that claiming benefits is not as complicated as they might think. Beneficiaries are typically required to provide the following documentation:

    Death certificate - most life insurance companies will ask the beneficiary to provide a death certificate for the descendent. Some companies will require each beneficiary to provide a copy, especially if they are unrelated to the decedent. In most cases, the death certificate will need to be an original with a seal provided by the town clerk or other recorder;

    Proof of identity - because life insurance companies are unlikely to have face to face contact with a beneficiary, they will typically require proof of identity for the beneficiary. This may be done in numerous ways including providing a copy of a photo identification (such as driver's license, passport, etc.) or they may require that the form that is being submitted for a claim contain a signature guarantee.

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    Common Beneficiary Questions

    2000px-Vraagteken.svg It is important to understand that each company may have slightly different requirements for beneficiaries of life insurance policies to claim the funds that might be due to them. This means that you will have to understand "how do life insurance companies confirm death". Life insurance is only subject to probate in the event that all beneficiaries are deceased. Here are some common questions about life insurance beneficiaries.

    What happens if the primary beneficiary is deceased?

    Some companies will require that when applying for life insurance, that there is a primary as well as a contingent beneficiary. This means that in most states, that the contingent beneficiary is entitled to the proceeds of the life insurance policy. In this instance, the life insurance company will also require that a death certificate be provided for the primary beneficiary.

    Is it possible to dispute a life insurance beneficiary?

    In some cases, there may be instances where people may dispute the validity of a beneficiary claiming a right to a life insurance policy. Generally, there are two cases where this may occur. They are (a) when a decedent has remarried and failed to update their beneficiaries and (b) when the decedent made a change to their beneficiary while ill. Generally, these cases are not followed through on due to the expenses that may be involved.

    What happens if there is no beneficiary?

    In the event that the life insurance policy had only one benecificary and that beneficiary is deceased, the life insurance policy would become propery of the estate of the decedent and the policy would be included in the estate that is going to be probated.

    Can a minor be a beneficiary?

    Minors can be added to a life insurance policy as a beneficiary. In the case that they are still a minor when the policy owner dies, the funds that they are entitled to may be claimed by their parents or legal guardians with the proper documentation. It is critical to speak with the life insurance company to make sure that you understand what documentation is required.

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    Contact Insurance Company for Information

    It is important that if you are a primary or contingent beneficiary on a life insurance policy that you contact them and request the legal requirements for filing a claim. Many companies have specific forms that may be required. Do not take any chances when filing a claim, make sure that you understand up front what documents are needed.

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    1. Anthem Life: Group Life Beneficiary Information:
    2. Orenstein, Beth via Can you dispute a life insurance beneficiary?

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