Being the executor of an estate under a Will can be complicated and demanding at the best of times – but particularly so when you can’t track down one of the beneficiaries.
In this scenario, it is important to take specialist legal advice to ensure that you as executor do not become personally liable to pay the missing beneficiary’s share if they turn up later, after you have distributed the estate.
Agreeing to act as an executor, means the law imposes on you certain responsibilities and duties. Key to this is making sure that all the estate’s funds are distributed to the right people.
Reasonable efforts to trace missing beneficiaries
If you can’t find one of the beneficiaries named in the Will, there are some key steps to follow which show you have made all reasonable efforts to search for them:
Protecting yourself if you can’t find the beneficiary
Before you distribute the estate, you need to make sure you have done everything possible to protect yourself against any possible claims in the future.
This is because if a beneficiary owed money from the estate is not paid, you may be liable to pay them from your own funds if they suddenly appear later.
If you proceed to administer the estate, ways to safeguard your position include:
For more help and advice, please contact Wards Solicitors’ Wills, Probate and Mental Capacity team.