How long to unlock life insurance?

Are you the beneficiary of a life insurance policy? Before receiving the capital due to you, there are formalities to complete. Find out which ones. And also follow our advice to find out whether or not you are a beneficiary of life insurance. As for the deadline, we explain everything to you in detail. For each step, from the constitution of the file to the release of funds, find the deadlines and the steps to be taken. Everything you need to know about the time required to unlock life insurance.

How to recover the capital of a life insurance as a beneficiary?

Are you the beneficiary of a life insurance contract? To unlock the life insurance and receive the capital, you must complete the formalities.

In first intention, it is advisable to approach the notary in charge of the succession. The latter can obtain the restitution of the sums.

In the absence of a notary, you must take the steps on your own by providing the insurer with the death certificate of the insured. Also remember to bring an ID. If, as beneficiary, you are designated by your capacity and not your identity, bring with you a supporting document such as a family booklet, a certificate of cohabitation, an act of filiation, etc. Without forgetting your RIB/IBAN of an account in your name in order to collect the sums due.

Finally, note that some insurance companies and banks require the original copy of the life insurance contract. However, the requesting institution is required to keep a copy of the document. Therefore, it cannot be a disbursement condition.

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The steps to know if you are a beneficiary of life insurance

In some cases, a person may be the beneficiary of a life insurance contract without really knowing it. An old uncle or an old aunt, for example, can leave you a capital. In this case, there is a procedure to follow to unlock the life insurance.

Immediately after death

Normally, the bank or insurance is aware of the death of a customer. Consequently, the establishment informs the beneficiaries of the contract.

However, be aware that it is possible to contact the banker or the insurer on your own initiative. And this, in order to speed up the formalities. But for that, it should be known that you are the beneficiary of a life insurance contract.

On the other hand, your notary can consult the Ficovie file to find out whether or not you are a beneficiary of life insurance. This file lists all life insurance contracts over 7,500 euros.

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For deaths less than 10 years old

Get in touch with the Association for Insurance Risk Information Management (Agira). This process can only be completed if the subscriber of the contract has been deceased for less than 10 years.

Agira centralizes the customer databases of all insurers in France. All you have to do is send a letter to the association, enclosing a death certificate for the loved one and their contact details.

Within 15 days of receiving your letter, Agira will forward your request to all insurers. They will then have one month to inform the beneficiary of the existence of life insurance for his benefit.

Here is the Agira address to send your mail to:

will act

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1 rue Jules Lefebvre

75431 Paris Cedex 09

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For deaths over 10 years

For deaths over 10 years old, you should do an online search on the Ciclade website. Indeed, in this case, the funds were transferred to the Caisse des dépôts et consignations (CDC).

You will need to provide the surname and first name of the deceased, as well as their date of birth, nationality and date of death. If a match is found, the service makes it possible to obtain payment of the sums due.

30 years after death

Finally, note that after 30 years, the capital not claimed by the beneficiaries is recovered by the State. They are then paid into the Pension Reserve Fund. And you can no longer release the funds to your advantage.

How long to unlock life insurance: deadlines for each step

The constitution of the file

The first step is to compile the file. Indeed, the bank or the insurance company asks the beneficiary for the documents necessary for the release of the funds (proof of death, double-sided beneficiary’s identity document, tax certificate).

The establishment must make this request within 15 days of receiving the death notice. Note that with some insurers, the constitution of the file can take more than a month. And each insurance company has its own operation, even if the list of supporting documents remains similar from one establishment to another.

Advice: in order not to waste time to unlock life insurance, it is better to avoid having your file considered incomplete. Thus, the beneficiary has every interest in sending his file by registered letter with acknowledgment of receipt. And it is also better for him to keep all useful photocopies at home.

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Deadline for disbursement of funds

Then, the bank or insurance has a legal deadline of one month to pay the capital after having received all the documents in the file, by check or transfer.

If, at the end of one month after receipt of all the documents in the file, the funds have not been released, the beneficiary may request late payment interest. Indeed, the legal deadline of one month is not always respected by the establishments.

Default interest : delays

Two cases must be distinguished.

First, if the institution has not sent the beneficiary the list of necessary documents within 15 days, the capital bears interest:

  • twice the legal rate for one month;
  • then, at three times the legal rate.

Then, if the insurer has not paid the funds to the beneficiary within one month, the capital bears interest:

  • twice the legal rate for one month;
  • then, at three times the legal rate.

Tip: If the insurance company or the bank does not seem willing to pay the late payment penalties, you can take steps after two months. Then seize the mediator of the insurance company, or sue it if the amicable recourse does not bear fruit. The settlement of the capital of the insurance, if it is greater than 10,000 euros, may be required in summary proceedings, that is to say urgently, at the High Court. This procedure requires the intervention of a lawyer, which entails costs to be paid.

Deadline in the event of a complicated succession

If the file proves to be complex, the funds can be released one year after the death, under the conditions specified in the contract (article 132-5 of the Insurance Code).

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