The deceased has family overseas – how do I locate them so I can to distribute the assets due to them under the terms of the Will?

Written by Terry Johansson | 27th September 2013

The executor may often find it difficult to administer the Estate if beneficiaries reside overseas or are difficult to locate.

The executor must make reasonable attempts  to find the beneficiaries of the Estate, including by advertising in local newspapers in the city where the deceased last resided or speaking with the deceased’s family members.

A solicitor can assist you with these searches.

If a beneficiary cannot be located and the executor has made every attempt to find him / her, then there are some options available to the executor  to enable him / her to complete the distribution of the estate. These include:

  • Applying for a court order  to permit the executor to disburse the Estate on the presumption that the beneficiary has predeceased the deceased;
  • Distribute the Estate amongst the beneficiaries who have been located and obtain an indemnity from each of them to protect the executor from personal liability should the missing  beneficiary come forward at a later date; or
  • Distribute the estate and obtain insurance to protect the executor from personal liability should the missing beneficiary come forward at a later date.

It is recommended that before taking any action, you should obtain advice from an expert solicitor.

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