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Modern Estate Planning Blog

Elder Law & Special Needs Planning

How do I find my loved one’s insurance benefits and retirement accounts after their death?

May 4, 2011

As a will lawyer in Sacramento, I often hear from clients that finding out what benefits are available under insurance policies and retirement accounts was one of the most difficult tasks in closing out their loved one’s estate.

This step can be especially difficult if the person handling the estate is not a surviving spouse or is not in possession of the policies. Since many people do not discuss private matters like life insurance policy limits while they are alive, trying to figure out the available benefits after the person is gone can seem impossible.

Talk to close family members or the family’s financial advisor to see if the decedent had policies that may provide benefits after death such as life insurance, health insurance, and private retirement accounts. Be prepared with the policy number and a copy of the death certificate, as well as proof that you have permission to discuss these matters with the company before you call.

The insurance company will then forward the proceeds of the policy to whoever was named the beneficiary.

If you are unsure about any aspect of this step of discovering death benefits after the loss of a loved one, I invite you to call our office at (916) 241-9661 and schedule a free Peace of Mind Planning Session. These sessions are normally $750, but you can come in free with the mention of this article. However, they are limited to 10 per month so call today!

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CLIENT Story

My wife and I have some quite large complexities both in our individual preferences and the construct of our life. When planning for our trust, Heather took the time to hear EVERYTHING we said. The trust which Heather formed for our family took all our concerns into account. When everything was said and done, we received a trust which, by design, is extremely personal to our circumstance. We also are delighted to have Heather to be part of our team of advocates to help when the time comes.
Jon

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