Dear Liz, What advice can you give people when they are faced with old life insurance policies that may never have been cashed?
Answer: My siblings and I have personal experience with this after coming across two policies in our late father’s papers. We learned that one policy had indeed been cashed in, but a second policy purchased in the 1930s with a face value of $5,000 was still in effect.
Typically, you can use a search engine to determine if an insurer is still in business or has changed its name or merged with another company. (Not surprisingly, the insurer that issued the 1930s policy has been involved in several mergers over the decades, but it only took us seconds to find the current incarnation.) If you’re having trouble tracking down a company, contact Insurance. regulator in the state where the insurer was originally located.
Once you have the current insurer’s name and contact information, you can call and ask if the policy is still in effect. If the policy has value, the insurer can instruct you on how to make a claim.
Dear Liz, I am a divorced person receiving Social Security survivor benefits based on my deceased ex’s earnings. I am 63 years old. Can I get married and still get benefits?
Answer: Yes! People receiving survivor benefits can remarry at age 60 or later without losing their benefits.
Survivor benefits are based on the earnings of the deceased spouse or ex-spouse. This differs from spousal benefits and divorced spousal benefits, which are based on the survivor’s earnings. People receiving divorced spousal benefits cannot remarry without losing those benefits.
Liz Weston, a certified financial planner, is a personal finance columnist NerdWallet. Questions can be sent to him at 3940 Laurel Canyon, No. 238, Studio City, CA 91604, or using the Contact form at: askliweston.com.