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New York Heir Finder

Having a will is a good way to specify exactly how you want your assets disposed of once you pass away. You can list specific family members, friends and even organizations that you want to inherit gifts from you after you pass away. Based on your relationship with a beneficiary and that beneficiary's interests and needs, you can be very specific about which assets you leave each person or institution. But what happens if a person you named in your will as a beneficiary cannot be located when it is time for assets to be distributed? Due to a variety of circumstances, you may lose track of family members and friends. However, you may still be fond of that family member or friend and may want to leave a gift to that person in your will. If you are an executor of an estate and are having trouble locating beneficiaries named in a will, consider contacting a New York heir finder lawyer to help you locate the missing heirs to ensure that the decedent's final wishes are fulfilled.


When someone dies, the executor named in the last will and testament is responsible for managing the estate in a way that ensures that the wishes of the deceased are fulfilled. The process begins when the executor petitions the New York Surrogate's Court to admit the will to probate. The Surrogate's Court judge will review the will to make sure it is valid. If the Surrogate's Court determines that it is valid, it will enter an order to admit it to probate. The executor will then begin the process of distributing the assets by first inventorying and valuing the assets of the estate. The executor will then pay the estate's debts. Finally, the executor will distribute the assets to the beneficiaries according to the wishes of the testator.

This seemingly uncomplicated process can become very complicated if any of the named beneficiaries or heirs are difficult to locate. Sometimes a testator passes away years, even decades after executing his or her will. During this time a named beneficiary may lose contact with the testator or the testator's family. The executor is charged with making sure that the testator's wishes as memorialized in his or her will are followed. When a beneficiary is missing, as an experienced New York heir finder lawyer will explain, it is up to the executor to make a reasonable effort to find the missing heir. In the meantime, the portion of the estate that is designated for the missing heir remains undistributed.

Searching for a Missing Heir

The job your executor is to wind up your affairs by protecting your assets until they are transferred to the beneficiaries who you name in your will. When beneficiaries are not easily located, the executor's job is more challenging. Your executor must, however, make a reasonable effort to find your missing heirs.

There are many reasons that an heir may be difficult to find. If the you and testator had a falling out that resulted in a conscience effort to stay away from each other, then the missing heir may resist any effort for your representative to find him or her. In other case it could be simply a matter drifting apart as often happens as people age and lives take different paths. In other cases, unfortunately, the missing heir may have passed away without your being notified.

Whatever the reason for that the heir went missing, your executor should take advantage of the many resources that are available for finding people. In most cases an heir is not truly lost or missing. In such cases very little effort is involved in locating that heir. In other cases it may be a lot more difficult to find the heir. However, using resources such as the internet, publishing notices in newspapers, contacting the Social Security Administration may provide clues as to the whereabouts of the missing heir.

If after making a reasonable effort, you still cannot find the missing person, contact a skilled heir finder attorney in New York to discuss the procedure for disposing of the missing heir’s distribution in accordance with New York law.

Contact the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates

The process of estate administration can be very complex and can take many unexpected turns. To help you navigate the process as efficiently as possible and to the help you resolve problems that arise, it is important for you to have experienced representation. The staff at the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates will help you determine the best course of action to locate the missing person and to ensure that his or her property is distributed properly. Contact an heir finder attorney New York at our office at 800-696-9529 to schedule a free, no obligation consultation regarding your case. We represent clients in the following locations: Nassau County, Suffolk County, Queens, Bronx, Brooklyn, Long Island, Manhattan, Staten Island, and Westchester County.

Client Reviews
Mr. Bilkis handled both my father and mother's estate issues through very difficult times he was compassionate kind and understanding. In fact the whole firm showed great empathy. Despite the emotional hard time we were having that quickly and efficiently handle all the matters that were necessary to get us the result we desired. Can't recommend them enough. B.B.
From the very first phone call to Stephen Bilkis' office, the staff was extremely polite and helpful in assisting me. Mr. Bilkis was honest and upfront with me from the beginning in what he projected the outcome of my case would be; in the end we got better results than either of us anticipated. He was very genuine and compassionate in understanding my situation and how this legal matter could effect not only myself but my family as well. I highly recommend this law firm and will most definitely continue using them for any future legal needs. Jarrett
Stephen has handled numerous estate matters, criminal matters and family court matters effectively and with a goal-oriented approach. He gets great results and is a results-oriented attorney. Dustin