Whilst a payout can be made in as little as a month, there are some instances where this could be delayed.
Most policies include a contestability clause (usually 2 years) where the insurer can request further information regarding the death.
This may be through the form of post-mortem notes/medical records and allows the insurer to determine whether any information was withheld during the application.
Life insurance policies also tend to have a suicide clause where a payout will be denied if the policyholder commits suicide within a certain time frame, (usually 2 years).
Therefore, if the policyholder dies of suspected suicide during this period, a payout will be delayed until the cause of death is confirmed.
Finally, if the policyholder dies as a result of homicide a payout will usually be delayed until a verdict has been reached.
Each of these causes for delay can vary significantly and in all instances, a payout won't be made until the insurer is certain the policy is valid.