A handful of states offer databases to help locate policies purchased in that state. You’ll find links on this page about finding lost life insurance (scroll down to the state databases section).
If you’re not in one of these states, locating a policy can be difficult or impossible if you don’t have access to your mother’s paperwork (such as files or checkbook records that would give clues).
However, if you’re listed as a beneficiary on a policy and your family tries to make a claim, the insurer won’t just send them the money. If they find out your mother has passed away they should try to locate all the beneficiaries named on the policy.
If your mother had a policy and didn’t name you as a beneficiary, only those people who are named are entitled to the death benefit.