With an increasing number of television shows such as Heir Hunters and Long Lost Family being broadcast, finding missing beneficiaries has been brought very much into the public eye. We receive a number of queries asking us how to track down beneficiaries named in Wills, if the person tracing them doesn’t know who they are, or has perhaps lost contact with them.
So, what do you do if you are dealing with someone’s estate and don’t know how to contact one of the people entitled to the estate?
The obvious place to start is the beneficiary’s last known address and this may be noted in the Will itself. It might just be as simple as searching the BT ‘Phone book, which can be accessed online as well as in hard copy.
You can also do simple searches online for the person’s name and address, to see if this provides you with any further information, such as from voter registration records.
Facebook, Twitter and similar online social media sites can also provide more information than you might think. If you can locate someone on social media, then you can usually send them a private message and ask them to contact you. It may be wise to keep the reason behind the contact to yourself initially however, until you have established that they are definitely the person you’re looking for. To check this, you could ask them for their previous address to see if it matches the one you have in the Will.
If these simple methods prove unsuccessful, then the best course of action would be to speak to a Solicitor in the first instance, as they will have access to other resources and to companies who specialise in locating missing people. Solicitors may be able to access these services for you at a preferential rate.
If you need help tracking down a missing beneficiary or person, get in touch with us today and we can give you some practical advice about to do.