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Ask the Life Insurance Expert

My dad recently passed away and well two months later we are being asked to fill out survivor beneficiary claim on whole life insurance policy that is around 40 yrs old. I'm puzzled that we are only finding out now. My stepmom said we could send forms to her as she has the rest of docs. But when I spoke with the insurance company they said they need no other docs except the claim forms from my brother and myself. I'm confused. Might there be other things we don't know about? And is a whole life from back in the 60s worth anything today?

I would do what the life insurance company said -- send in your claim documents directly to them. There's no need to go through your stepmother, and you don't even know if she will send in your claim forms on a timely basis.

Are there other policies you don't know about? Possibly. But it will be difficult if not impossible to locate them unless other family members know of their existence. Here's more about lost life insurance.

The policy will be worth whatever the face amount is that your father purchased. If he purchased a policy for $100,000 in coverage, that is what it will pay out. Life insurance isn't like a car that loses value over the years.

Last updated: Oct. 19, 2012