Stephen Bilkis
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Suffolk County Heir Finder

After someone passes away, that person’s estate must be settled and his (or her) property must be transferred to others. If the decedent passed away and left a will, the process of settling the decedent’s estate is referred to as probate and is managed by an executor. As part of the estate administration process, the decedent’s property is transferred to the beneficiaries that the decedent named in his will. If the decedent did not leave a will, the process is called estate administration and is managed by an estate administrator. The property is transferred to the decedent’s next of kin as defined by New York’s intestacy rules. While the process of estate administration (or probate) is generally straightforward, there can be complications. One such complication occurs when an heir (or beneficiary) is difficult to find. If you are involved in the settling of an estate and are concerned about an heir or beneficiary that is hard to find, contact an experienced Suffolk County heir finder lawyer at the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates.

Estate administrator’s role

The estate administrator is in charge of managing the estate of the decedent. This includes addressing problems that develop during the process. Thus, the estate administrator must take reasonable steps to locate all heirs. There are many resources that an estate administrator or executor can take advantage of in an effort to find the missing heir such as publishing notices. As an experienced Suffolk County heir finder attorney will explain, another place to start would be to contact the family and friends of both the decedent and the missing heir who may be in touch with the missing person. Government records may also provide information about the missing person’s whereabouts.

If the administrator still is not able to find the heir when it is time to distribute the assets, the missing heir’s distribution will be held in trust for a period of time. Eventually, the property will either go to the heirs of the missing person, or will escheat to the state.

Avoiding missing heir problem

While an experienced heir finder attorney in Suffolk County can provide strategies for handling a missing heir problem, the best way to avoid such a problem is to write a will and update it regularly. Missing heirs problems are more likely to occur where there is no will and the estate administrator must distribute assets to the next of kin who may not necessary have been in contact with the decedent, or who may not even know the decedent.

On the other hand the decedent is more likely to be in close contact with a person who he (or she) named as beneficiary in his will. Of course, even close family members or friends sometimes lose contact. A periodic review of your will allows you to under terms. For example, if you are no longer close with someone or if you cannot find someone, you may decide not to leave that person anything in your will. If you know that someone has moved, you can give updated contact information to your executor.

Contact the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates

Because one the main responsibilities of an executor or estate administrator is to distribute the asset of an estate, a hard-to-find heir will make the administrator’s job more complex. In addition, it may result in additional expense to the estate and a delay in asset distribution. An experienced heir finder attorney serving Suffolk County has the resources and skill to help locate missing heirs and to offer solutions in the event that heir is not found. The attorneys at the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates have years of experience representing clients who have complex estate administration issues, including beneficiaries and heirs that are difficult to locate, kinship hearings, and other issues related to the distribution of estate assets. Contact us at 1-800-NY-NY-LAW (1-800-696-9529) to schedule a free, no obligation consultation regarding your case. We represent clients in the following locations: Suffolk County, Long Island, Manhattan, Nassau County, Queens, Staten Island, Westchester County, Bronx, and Brooklyn.

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.
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