Closing out an estate of a loved one can sometimes become convoluted. It may be that they died unexpectedly and much of the paperwork needed was not kept in an organized fashion. In the case of life insurance, you may find an old policy while you're going through old tax returns, check books and other documents that you didn't realize existed. Finding out if benefits were paid on a policy, even many years later, can be done with just a little legwork on your part.
Review the policy or statement you have found. Look for the contact information of the insurance company as well as the account number of the insurance policy.
Compile pertinent information about the deceased so you have it available when speaking with the insurance company. This should include the name, Social Security number, date of birth and address of record of the deceased person.
Call the insurance company using the customer service number you located on the statement or policy.
Request to speak with someone in benefit claims. Provide the representative with the account number along with the name and date of birth of the deceased.
Ask the representative who the designated beneficiaries are and whether the policy has been paid out. If it has been, ask when the date of benefits were paid.