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Methods for Tracing Missing Beneficiaries

There are many different methods that can be used to trace missing beneficiaries. In this article, we take a look at some of these methods and the importance of tracing missing beneficiaries. We also look at the options if missing beneficiaries can’t be located.
What is a missing beneficiary?
A beneficiary is someone who is entitled to receive some money or an item when another person dies. This could be because they’re named in the will personally, or they’re mentioned as a relative. Alternatively, you can be a beneficiary when there is no will, and the rules of intestacy apply. A missing beneficiary is a beneficiary that can’t be located by the executor of the will or the experts helping divide up the estate of the deceased.
Examples of missing beneficiaries
There are so many different examples of missing beneficiaries; almost every case is different. Some common examples are a named beneficiary on the will that’s unknown to the family, relatives that are named but have lost touch with the rest of the family or a family tree that has been created as part of the rules of instancy but the whereabouts of the members of that family are unknown.
Record searches
One common way that genealogists search for missing beneficiaries is by searching through vast amounts of records. Specialist genealogist companies have access to an extensive amount of information that can help them to locate an individual. These records could include birth certificates, marriage records, death records, credit references and census records. Genealogists will search through these records to find missing beneficiaries or anyone that’s related to them in the hope that they can trace their whereabouts to get in contact.
Contact family and friends
On many occasions, missing beneficiaries can be located through information provided by family and friends. Genealogists will call, send emails and even use social media to find missing heirs. They can trace people with very small amounts of information using their connections and investigative skills.
Advertisements in local papers
Another approach for finding missing beneficiaries is to place advertisements in local newspapers. If the individual sees the advert themselves, they’re likely to come forward. Alternatively, if a friend or family member sees it, they will inform the beneficiary that they need to come forward.
What if they can’t be found
On some occasions, missing beneficiaries can’t be located. In this situation, there are several things that can be done to prevent issues from occurring in the future if the missing beneficiary comes forward to make a claim. is a popular choice; this will pay out if the missing beneficiary comes forwards at a later date. It will also protect any other beneficiaries and the executor from any personal liability. Another option is to keep a reserve fund for the beneficiary if they ever come forward. However, this money needs to be kept safe and secure. There is a 12-year limitation period for missing beneficiaries. If they don’t come forward in this period, the money can be distributed to the other beneficiaries. If an executor of an estate is unsure what to do when a missing beneficiary can’t be traced, they should contact an expert and gain legal advice. The executor can be made personally liable if they do not take the right precautions and the missing beneficiary eventually comes forward to claim their entitlement.
Preventing missing beneficiaries
The best way to prevent the issue of missing beneficiaries is to create a valid and clear will. The will should provide up to date information about each beneficiary, including their name and contact details. All beneficiaries should be informed before the person dies of the location of the will and their inclusion in the will as a beneficiary. This will help ensure clarity and avoid unnecessary costs associated with missing beneficiaries. In addition, if there are any changes before the creator of the will passes away, they should update their will accordingly to remove or add in any additional beneficiaries. If you’re considering writing a will, take this into account and only use a professional and reputable writing service. You should also amend your will if you think it could be ambiguous.
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