I found two old life insurance policies. How can we collect?

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Q. I found two old life insurance accounts being held by the state for my grandfather, who died in 1977. Apparently, the funds were never disbursed because the address was spelled wrong, so the accounts were considered unclaimed. None of his children, including my mother, are alive today. There are six other adult grandchildren besides myself. How is this money obtained and how is it disbursed?
— Confused

A. That must have been a surprising find.

Insurance claims can be made at any time, even years after the death of the policy holder, said Regina Spielberg, an estate planning attorney with Schenck, Price, Smith & King in Florham Park.

You should start by contacting the life insurance company that issued the policy, she said.

The National Association of Insurance Commissioners has a website to help people find insurance policies, she said.

Even if the policy proceeds reverted to the state of New Jersey, you can still claim it through the Unclaimed Property Administration.

“The distribution of the life insurance proceeds are governed by the contract of the life insurance policy,” Speilberg said, so you will need to learn more about the specific policy.

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This story was originally published on Nov. 18, 2021.

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