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Ask the Life Insurance Expert

My brother, who has a mental disability, is near death. He had two life insurance policies written in the 1960s that were paid up. Both my parents have died. How can we get information about the policies on my brother?

First, make sure the life insurance policies aren't lost. Assuming your parents purchased these policies for your brother, go through any paperwork they left behind.

Contact the life insurance companies if you locate the policies or if you know the names of the companies.

If you can't find the insurance policies, look for evidence of premium payments, such as canceled checks. Also, check address books for contact information for insurance agents or life insurance companies. Call any financial advisers your parents consulted through the years. They might be aware of the life insurance policies on your brother.

Several services are available to help locate lost life insurance policies. The National Association of Insurance Commissioners provides a "Life Insurance Company Location System" tool on its website to steer you to state insurance departments, which might be able to help you determine which companies could have written the policies.

The National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators provides a MissingMoney.com website. You can search for missing life insurance policies, but only after the companies have deemed them unclaimed and transferred the money to the state.

For more, see How to find lost life insurance policies.

Last updated: Oct. 31, 2011