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How to Prove You Are a Beneficiary

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By Fate Kersey
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How do you prove you are a beneficiary

If you have been named as a beneficiary to someone else’s trust or estate, it’s important that you are aware of your rights. It’s also critical that you be proactive in ensuring that you receive the inheritance to which you are entitled.

Beneficiaries fall into two broad categories: primary beneficiaries and contingent beneficiaries. The type of beneficiary you are will determine your rights and your ability to enforce them.

Information About the Deceased

You can prove you are a beneficiary by providing the insurance company or financial services firm with as much information about the deceased as possible. This will help them verify and locate your beneficiaries, which can make the process of claiming death benefits go smoothly.

Your state’s insurance commission may also have a life insurance policy locator service that will search a database of known policies from participating companies.

If you have the person’s policy number, social security number or other evidence that they had a life insurance policy, contact their insurance agent to find out if there are death benefits due and to get the correct claim form.

Once the insurance company has verified that you are a legitimate beneficiary, they will work with you to settle your claims. You’ll need to provide a copy of the death certificate and other documents that the insurance company needs. Then, they’ll process your claim and send the money to you.

Information About the Insurance Policy

You can prove you are a beneficiary by checking your loved one’s files and financial records for life insurance policies they might have had. It might be a tedious and emotional process, but it could help ensure your loved one’s beneficiaries receive their benefits after their passing.

You might also check with the deceased’s estate planning attorney or financial advisor to find out if they have any life insurance policy documents in their possession. Alternatively, you can look through the deceased’s bank accounts for any life insurance premium payments.

The National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) offers a Life Insurance Policy Locator Service, which searches a database of known policies from participating insurance companies. However, not everyone who makes a request will get an answer from a company.

Information About the Trust

Trusts are a common way to pass assets upon someone’s death. They can be set up to leave funds for a person’s children, grandchildren or even charity.

Trustees are appointed by the grantor (the person who established the trust) to manage and distribute the estate’s assets for their beneficiaries. They must be impartial as they administer the trust and can’t favor one beneficiary over another or place personal interest ahead of the trust’s goals.

When a trustee is liable for breaching their fiduciary duties, trust beneficiaries have several steps they can take to enforce their rights and protect their interests.

First, a trustee must give a notice to all trust beneficiaries and any other heirs-at-law or next of kin as required by California Probate Code Section 16061.7. This notice must include a copy of the trust and your right to receive information about the trust and how it is being administered.

Information About the Will

A will, sometimes called a “last will and testament,” is a legal document that specifies your final wishes in regard to the distribution of property after your death. Having one can help prevent your heirs from having to spend additional time and energy to settle your estate.

A good way to start preparing your will is by collecting documents that detail your assets, including real estate and family heirlooms. You may also want to bring paperwork that outlines your debts, such as mortgage or car loans.

Another important part of preparing your will is identifying the people you wish to inherit specific assets, called beneficiaries. These could include family, friends, business partners or even charities you support.

You can also include contingent beneficiaries, which are individuals who will receive an asset if the primary beneficiary passes away before you do. You can use these designations on life insurance policies, retirement plans and bank accounts. However, you should be sure that the designations are legal where you live.

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