no life insurance policy certificate to be found after Dad's death

by Val
(Buffalo, NY, USA)

My father was always a disorganized, a bit of a hoarder, and secretive, which came to haunt my mother and me after he died from cancer 10 years ago. We knew that had a life insurance policy, but he had never revealed the details about it, including the company’s name, the amount, and where the certificate was.

The end result was that I had to go down to the basement and dig through thousands of papers in his office. Because Dad was a hoarder, there were more than three dozen boxes and large, black garbage bags filled with papers, including every last receipt he ever collected, old appointment calendars, and used handkerchiefs. It was disgusting. Everything was smelly because the basement was prone to flooding and everything had been exposed to backed-up sewer water.

Also, my father’s desk was locked and the key was nowhere to be found. I ended up watching a YouTube video on picking locks and used two paperclips to pry the desk open. My father had lots of old papers in there dating to 1974, which was, apparently, the last time he himself had accessed the desk drawers.

It took me about two weeks to comb through Dad’s papers. I found several old life insurance policy certificates and had to phone each and every company to find out the status on the policies. Finally, I struck gold. Dad had an active life insurance policy with John Hancock insurance and Mom was able to claim the funds.

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