Mom died in 1984 – Transamerica just noticed

Background: in around 2017 I was contacted by one of those "we found money pay us 10% and we'll help you claim it" companies regarding unclaimed funds in my "grandfather's" name. The funds were actually my uncle's – who shared the same first name but different middle initial with his father. In finding that out, and knowing the address reported on the unclaimed property, I assumed it to be a life policy my uncle had purchased before he entered the service (USAF). I passed the info along to his son, and forgot about it.

Today I received a letter from Transamerica stating that they believe my mother "may be deceased" – she passed in 1984. I called and got transferred to claims when I gave the reference number from the letter. Apparently there is a whole life policy in her name as well – the letter I received listed her married/my last name, but apparently this policy actually lists her maiden name since they said her name at the time she died wasn't the one on the policy.

This leads me to assume these are both policies purchased when my mother and uncle were born – or at least early childhood. I'm not sure either of them knew the policies even existed, as after my grandparents divorce my grandfather's relationship with both children was strained – at best. I don't recall my uncle ever saying a kind word about him, nor my grandmother. My mom died when I was an infant, so I never got her input.

So, that brings me to the question:

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Assuming this is a whole life policy purchased somewhere around 1947, my grandfather died in 1979 – I believe. Assuming he had been paying the policy u til his death, how has it managed to remain paid & active this long? Even assuming my mother knew of it and continued payments until 1984 – that's been 38 years.

I can only assume that the policies remained in force and were being paid from cash value?

So, my further question is how will this be paid out? Since the claim was just filed today – and she passed in 1984 – would the payout be based on the value at the time of death, or the time a claim is filed?

Assuming there were value in the policy that's allowed it to self-sustain without premium payments for nearly, or over, 40 years, how would that affect the final value of the claim?

submitted by /u/inlarry