Missing beneficiaries can be located with the help of family members and other beneficiaries. Information on the person’s whereabouts may also be found amongst the personal papers of the deceased. Old neighbours may also know the person’s new address.
Private investigators may also be retained to locate a missing beneficiary.
Any costs associated with locating a beneficiary are chargeable to the estate.
If the executor has exhausted all avenues for locating a beneficiary, they should seek legal counsel. The lawyer may have to apply to the Court to have the missing beneficiary’s share paid to the Court. In rare cases where the beneficiary fails to turn up after several years, the Court will make an order declaring the person dead and the gift lapsed. A lapsed gift is treated as intestacy and distributed to remaining family members according to provincial rules of intestacy.
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