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Families Can Hold Life Insurance Policies Hostage?

I came across an interesting article about how families often get in the midst of a feud after a loved one has passed away.  The scenario involves one family member holding a life insurance policy's crucial information hostage as a way to get part of the proceeds.  This would generally happen when someone is offended that no money was left to them.  It may seem far fetched, but according to Lynette Khalfani-Cox's article on Fox Business, this "happens all the time".

Michael Hartmann is the founder and CEO of, and he says this situation is not uncommon. helps family members who have recently lost a loved one find what they are looking for in terms of a life insurance policy.  This database of life insurance policy information lets people store their policy information in one place for beneficiaries to eventually access.

Hartmann started this company back in 2007 after his own father passed away and his mother did not know which life insurance company took care of the policy.  Like many widows, she assumed the insurer would contact her, but it's actually the responsibility of the beneficiary to contact the insurer in most cases.

If you find yourself in a situation where you cannot locate life insurance information, or if a family member is threatening you with bribes, you can begin your search on the Internet.  There is currently no government run database of life insurance policies that haven't been turned over to the state, but may help.

This free service is available online and only requires name, date of birth, and the last four digits of the social security number.  There is no detailed information about the policy included, but it will tell you what insurer manages the policy so they can be contacted directly.  This is sure to help many people struggling to remain organized after suffering the loss of a loved one.

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