Life Insurance – Are You the Beneficiary of Unclaimed Benefits?


Today on North Carolina Law TV, David Daggett,
Injury and Disability Lawyer from Daggett Shuler Law out of Winston, Salem talks to
us about life insurance. So what happens is many times family or loved
ones don’t even know if or what policies exist. You hear all the time about a husband
or a wife having a life insurance policy that they put away toward their entire life and
never even told family members is for example if something happens while you’re on a trip
and you bought for the tickets to the trip on your credit card there may be some death
benefits there. That’s all next on this episode of North
Carolina Law TV. Life insurance is one of those necessary evils
in life. It’s not fun to think about, it’s not fun to research and setup, and especially
not fun to pay your annual premiums. But in the event of you or your spouse’s unexpected
death the life insurance policy can really be a saving grace. And yet every year millions
of dollars of life insurance claim go uncollected oftentimes this is because beneficiaries are
unaware of the policies. Additionally, many companies don’t go out of their way to track
down beneficiaries after a policy holder dies. David Daggett is here today to answer some
common questions about life insurance and to explain how to find out if you are the
beneficiary of any unclaimed policies. David, thank you for your time today. Thanks for having me on. I’m glad that you’re here. Following the
death of a loved one, when is the right time to deal with an existing life insurance policy? Well, the time to deal with a life insurance
policy is as soon as possible. Now, after the death there’s obviously the emotions and
things to be taken care of but on the business side of things you need to take care of your
life insurance policies to make sure you get those benefit proceeds that you’re entitled
to to take care of yourself and to take care of your family. That’s reason it’s there.
In fact many life insurance policies a big reason for having it is just so that you have
money to pay for the arrangements for the funeral and that sort of thing following the
death. So you might need it immediately as well or
you might be able to use it immediately. Exactly, exactly. So what happens is many
times family or loved ones don’t even know if or what policies exist. So the question
is, is what do you do to find out? And what you do is, number one, go through all the important
papers all of us have some place that we keep our important papers some may be more scattered
than others but we have our important papers. Go through those important papers. You hear
all the time about a husband or a wife having a life insurance policy that they’ve put
away toward their entire life and never even told family members. They were doing it because
out of their own diligence and prudence they wanted to make sure everything was protected
if something happen to them but they may not know where those papers were. So look through
important papers. The other thing is to contact the human resources
department of the deceased’s employer. Because many people have life insurance through their
work or as an employee benefit, okay? So there’s those areas and then there’s some interesting
areas that, and this is the reason why you need to talk with somebody who knows what
they’re doing, is for example if something happens while you’re on a trip and you bought
your tickets for the trip on your credit card there may be some death benefits there.
So there’s various areas where there could be death benefits available to you in that
sort of situation. The unfortunate thing is that many times those benefits go completely
unprotected and yet you have children who need to go to school and everyday needs and
those sort of things and you can’t provide for them. So getting those benefits and being
aware of them is very, very important. So that’s helpful to know some places to
look for you gave some good examples there of places to look for something that normally
people wouldn’t think about. Normally wouldn’t think about. The other
thing you have and I don’t mean to be stereotypical but you have the little old lady whose spouse
dies and sometimes they get a little push back or resistance on the claim and they give
up too fast. Okay? So if you have questions about a possible claim or a policy you need
to talk to somebody who knows a little bit more about that, knows how to pursue those
claims, and knows how to recover on them. So, it’s not only looking to see what’s
out there and what’s available and what someone has been contributing towards to take care
of their family but also just navigating that working with policy… Navigating is a good word. Yeah. Because sometimes it becomes very difficult
to just go through the claims processing and many times people go through the processing
and say, well that insurance policy lapsed or a premium was missed or this or that and
people give up. Lots of times there is still a way to be successful on those and those
may be benefits that you’re entitled to. Right, that you are and… So experienced competent help from somebody
that has handled a lot of those claims in the past may be able to help you navigate
that system and recover the benefits you’re actually entitled to. That has been contributed to so that you would
have those benefits. Absolutely, absolutely. That’s something
you paid for on top of those benefits. Right. And it’s a time when you’re dealing
with other, you know, you’re dealing with other emotions and just that loss and so having
someone there beside, you know, working with you to figure out how to find these and get
the benefits. Yeah. What happens is because of the emotions
of the situation it takes your eye off the ball of taking care of the business aspects.
So you need a third-party involved, a lawyer, to help you pursue that and make sure you’re
properly taken care of. That’s really good to understand. Thanks
so much for coming and sharing with us about that. Is there anything else that we should
know about life insurance policies before we go? Yeah. In dealing with life insurance policies
you just need to know that you do have rights and you need to know where to look and who
to talk to to make sure you’re protected in that situation. Well, thank you so much for spending the time
with us today and sharing this information with us. Thanks for having me on. If you or someone you know has questions as
to if a deceased family member has an unclaimed life insurance policy, you can call David’s
office at (336) 724-1234. Until next time, this is Nancy Hollett for North Carolina Law
TV.

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