Estate Law Questions? Ask an Estate Lawyer.
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Have you found any documentation anywhere in his possessions (insurance records, bank records of payments, etc.) that indicate he might have left you an insurance policy?
No. I cannot find any written documents. I am only going on our conversations.
Did you he indicate with which insurance company he might have a policy?
Is there an agency I can consult in the state of Illinois to see if he had an insurance policy with me as the beneficiary?
No, there is not. The insurance contact/policy is a private matter and no government agency will have any information concerning the policy. The only way a governmental body would obtain such information is if the insurance company determines that your brother is deceased but is unable to contact you or any other beneficiary. In that case, the insurance company would deposit the funds with the unclaimed property department of the state. Thus, you could check for unclaimed property in your state, but that usually is not something that shows up until many years later. Other than that, your ability to determine whether he had a policy is limited because it depends on going through his records to see if you can locate copies of any policy papers or payments to an insurance company where he might have held such a policy.
I wish there was a good way to search for such information. It would certainly be a valuable resource because I run into situations like this all the time. The family is aware of the possible existence of an insurance policy, but there's just not enough information to even begin to determine whether any such policy actually exists. There's no public record anywhere, so it all comes down to carefully sifting through the deceased person's paperwork to see if any record can be located.
My brother died suddenly in 2007 and I am just getting up enough nerves to ask this question.
If there was an attorney involved with helping your brother get his estate planning in order, that's the best chance of obtaining information (other than going through your brother's records). If your brother had such a policy at the time the attorney assisted him, then the attorney would most likely have knowledge of the policy.
Are there any code words that attorneys use to conceal this information on their computers?
Given that he did die over 5 years ago, then you might check with the state agency that holds unclaimed property.
No, there are no code words.
Here is a link to the Illinois Treasurer's site where you can search unclaimed property records:
Given that my brother was an attorney with a home office, I suppose I must stop crying about his death and look a little close in his office.
Yes, absolutely. He would have a record somewhere if he kept good records and attorneys usually do. That's where to start.
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