Life Insurance Registry
Life Insurance Registry: Are You a Beneficiary without Knowing it? We all come to that moment when our elders or loved ones begin to pass away, although many times we wish this wouldn’t happen.
It’s at this point that, on occasion, a notice is received from the Ministry of Justice indicating that the deceased person had a life insurance policy, a situation that sometimes even the closest family members are unaware of.
These cases occur more frequently than we might think because there are certain insurance policies whose existence is not known during one’s lifetime. For example, a common payment instrument like a credit card often includes some form of life insurance, and some companies also subscribe to life insurance policies for their employees. Travel insurance policies can also include coverage for accidents that travelers may experience.
What is the Life Insurance Registry?
This is a database that anyone can access, providing information about the insurance policies a person has likely purchased after comparing various life insurance options. Certain requirements must be met, such as submitting the requested documentation and completing the necessary procedures, to make inquiries.
The entity managing this database falls under the Ministry of Justice and is known as the Registry of Last Will Acts of the Directorate General of Legal Security and Public Faith.
The purpose of taking out a life insurance policy is to address the financial need that may arise for the family when they lose the primary source of income due to the policyholder’s death or permanent disability. In this way, when the event covered by the policy occurs, the beneficiaries will have access to this financial support.
However, sometimes these beneficiaries are not included in the policy by the policyholder, making it difficult to know their beneficiary status. In other cases, because it’s not a pleasant topic of conversation, no one has discussed what to do when a family member passes away. And in other instances, the existence of an insurance policy to turn to upon a person’s death is simply unknown.
To prevent a policy payout from going unclaimed, the Ministry of Justice has established a publicly accessible registry. This document is known as the Registry of Death Coverage Insurance Contracts. Accessing it requires only the payment of Form 790 and waiting for a period that typically takes up to ten days, though delays may occur depending on the number of requests.
All insurance companies are obligated to register policyholders with the Ministry of Justice. However, they do not have the same obligation when it comes to specifying who the beneficiaries are, leading to many cases where benefits go unclaimed.
In truth, what is stored here are contracts for death coverage insurance, providing information about accident insurance in addition to life insurance, among other types.
These policies cover the policyholder’s death and, as mentioned earlier, provide financial relief to family members when their income is reduced due to the policyholder’s absence.
The insured amount, determined by the person signing the insurance contract, will be received by the beneficiaries they have designated, with the most common being the surviving spouse and children. They can check the Life Insurance Registry to determine if they are beneficiaries even if they are unaware of it.
The Certificate of Death Coverage Insurance Contracts
This is a document certifying the active insurance contracts in which the deceased was the insured party, along with the insurance company that issued the relevant policy or policies.
It may happen that the deceased did not appear as the insured party in any of the archived contracts, and in such cases, a certificate explicitly stating this will be issued.
Certificates of death coverage insurance contracts can be requested for life insurance policies with this coverage and for accident insurance policies that include the insured’s death, whether the policy is individual or part of a group.
Remember that such a certificate will not be issued if the policyholder and the beneficiary are the same at the time of the insured’s death.
The collected data is available to those who request it for up to five years following the insured’s death.
How to Determine the Beneficiary of a Life Insurance Policy
If you suspect you may be a beneficiary of a life insurance policy, you should contact the Ministry of Justice through one of the available channels, whether in person, by mail, or online if you have an electronic signature. You can make the request once fifteen days have passed since the death.
Once you have received the certificate issued by the Ministry, you will need to contact the insurance company to confirm your status as a beneficiary. At this point, it’s possible that the policyholder had expressly indicated who the beneficiaries would be, naming them specifically or stating that the beneficiaries would be their legally accepted heirs.
In the latter case, you will need to prove your status as the deceased’s legal heirs in accordance with the law. This typically involves demonstrating your status as children or other descendants, parents or ancestors, spouses or domestic partners, or siblings.
In the unlikely event that the policyholder had named someone other than their heirs or the person making the inquiry as the beneficiary, it’s important to note that the insurance company is not obligated to disclose the beneficiary’s identity.
Also, remember that the certificate of death coverage insurance contracts, the kind of insurance certificate you will need to consult, includes all insurance policies covering loss of life. So, it will not only encompass life insurance policies as such but also accident insurance policies taken out by the deceased, as mentioned earlier.
Keep in mind that there may be several policies in which you are named as the insured party, perhaps without your knowledge, as various insurance policies are often acquired in different ways. If you have signed a mortgage, it is likely that you have also taken out associated life insurance, or perhaps the company you work for provides life insurance as part of its employee benefits.
For all these reasons and to ensure no benefits go unclaimed, consulting this registry becomes one of the necessary steps when a family member passes away.