How do I find out if my great grandmother had aWill or life insurance policy?

My mom knows that my great grandma had me in her Will and a life insurance policy for me when she passed. Problem is, she’s nowshe passed but we have not been able to find anything in her papers. We have her SS card, birth certificate, and death certificate. Could you help me figure this out?

Asked on March 11, 2011 under Estate Planning, North Carolina


M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

First of all, as for finding her Will, check with her attorney, accountant, friends, etc - anybody who might know where the Will is or who may have drafted it.  Also, check any place that she kept her important papers (e.g. a safety deposit box or even an old box in the basement).  Additionally, you can check with the clerk of the probate court because many times people file their Wills for safekeeping.

As for finding any life insurance policy, in addition to asking her lawyer/accountant/friends, check with her auto and home insurance agent (if she had one) to see if she had any policy through that agent.  Additionally, check her financial records (i.e. cancelled checks, bank statements, etc).  Also, the MIB (Medical Information Bureau) keeps records on life insurance applications going back 11 years.  If all else fails, call up life insurance companies to check.  You'll have to get a list of the licensed life insurance carriers in your state from the Insurance Commissioner and then try to call the biggest first. It will be a lot of work but worth the try.

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

I am so sorry for your loss.  Did your Grandmother have an attorney that she dealt with on a regular basis?  Possibly someone that she always went to for legal help?  That would be a good place for you to start looking for a Will.  Also, check and see if she had a safety deposit box at her bank.  Many people keep things that are valuable in these type of boxes.  You will need to get some type of temporary order of the court to allow you to open the box and I would check with an attorney in your area about that.  Generally it is the power granted to the Personal Representative of the estate (executor, etc.).   There are also agencies that do searches of assets and you can try them.  Good luck to you.

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