Under normal circumstances, a family member can easily help in locating missing heirs. Finding them is necessary to ensure that all the beneficiaries can be notified to receive their rightful inheritance. There are several reasons you might need to find a missing beneficiary in matters related to property, inheritance, and intestate estate to name a few. Read on as we discuss the proven ways you can follow to locate a missing heir.
Read the Presented Documents
If you are presented with a will mentioning an heir that is currently unknown to the family, finding the executor of the estate might help. An executor could be a close friend, personal attorney, or a family member that was appointed. Furthermore, reading the document thoroughly can reveal information on the name of the spouse or the children. However, if you are unable to find one, the law will require the state to exercise a due diligence search in which the officials make contact with the family members and advertise in the local newspaper in an attempt to find the missing beneficiaries.
Contacting an Attorney
Nowadays, you can find lawyers that only cater to a specific niche. In the case of a missing heir, an attorney specializing in estate or probate law can prove to be resourceful. They handle these cases daily and can provide you with direction if you are unable to execute on your own. The market is flooded with lawyers providing these services, so make sure that you choose a reputable one with a good track record.
For complicated cases where you cannot find any lead, hiring a genealogist could help in finding out the rightful heirs. These guys are officially entitled to conduct research on a family tree, procure relevant documents to prove their relationship, and report their findings that are acceptable by the court. Checking the certifications of a genealogist is crucial before you conduct any form of business. The experts who specialize in finding heirs at Record Click suggest that, besides checking credentials, you must make sure that you know about the service charges as there are fraudulent genealogists who charge huge amounts for the services you could find elsewhere.
Hire an Investigator
Besides hiring a genealogist, you can also avail the services of a private investigator that will do the work of finding the heir. They charge according to the services they provide. As there are a lot of investigators, try communicating with them or fix a meeting to know the way they would conduct business. Don’t hesitate to ask about the search process they would follow and tell them about your concerns. If you already have some important information in hand, sharing it with the investigator will help them start their investigation at a good pace. Some states in the United States require genealogists and private investigators to be licensed, so always check with the state’s relevant departments whether the company is licensed or not. Lastly, when conducting business, carefully read the financial contract and ensure that the type of services offered and the service fees are written. Moreover, check whether the company would charge by the hour or want a percentage from the inheritance.
Collecting as much information as you can, in the beginning, will set a path for the rest of your search. There is a possibility of encountering a scenario where you might want to search for the heirs after a due-diligent search has been conducted. Before collecting any bit of information, ensure that it is from an authentic source. Otherwise, you might end up wasting your time and energy.
One way to look for a missing heir in this digital era is over the internet. You can search on social media, go over dedicated forums, or use a search engine as most individuals have a digital footprint that can be easily located. There are also dedicated forums on the internet where you can post information about the missing person.
Wrapping it all up, these are the ways you can follow if you want to find missing heirs. In most cases, finding heirs is not that difficult and can be done after a bit of research. However, in scenarios where an heir cannot be found even after trying everything, there are legal options like contacting the probate court to declare the heir dead officially or by handing over the value of the missing heir’s inheritance to the country controller. In these situations, getting the help of your attorney would be a good option as you might come across technicalities that only a lawyer could get you through.