Q. My father passed away recently. I thought he had life insurance, but I couldn't find a policy among his belongings. Is there a database of life insurance policyholders where I can check?
A. There is no agency or database that tracks life insurance policies sold in the United States. Unfortunately, beneficiaries can't make a claim without knowing at the very least the name of the company that issued the policy. This is why it's important for policyholders to disclose to beneficiaries where they keep their insurance paperwork — in a filing cabinet at home, in a bank's safe deposit box or elsewhere.
If you haven't done so already, look over your father's checkbook register or account statements to see whether payments were made to a life insurance company in the last year or more. If he banked online, check his electronic records for payments.