Finding a beneficiary

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Trace Missing Beneficiaries

Often when distributing an estate, you may be in a situation where one or more beneficiaries are either unknown and /or whereabouts unknown. 

What are your options? Well, there are a number of probate research firms in the UK that can attempt to identify and locate missing beneficiaries. The first thing to decide, from the administrator or solicitor’s point of view, is what information do you actually need? 

Contact Details

At the simplest end, such as seeking contact details for known beneficiaries, a fixed fee on a No Success No Fee basis would probably be appropriate. Most individuals in the UK can be found within a couple of days but some will take longer, maybe we will speak to neighbours or family, fire off a few speculative letters or trace someone overseas. 

Research & Report - from named Beneficiary

If the named Beneficiary has died, you may want to find any issue, and then a budget fee basis would be more appropriate. Why the difference? It comes down to the information you receive and the checks that have been carried out. It is no good having a couple of names of issue if no one has checked to see how many more there could be. 

In addition to contact details you would also need a family tree and documentary evidence linking them to the potential beneficiary named. Note, this does not prove that the person is in line to inherit only that they are the beneficiary of the named beneficiary provided. 

Research & Report - from deceased

If you would like the beneficiaries to be proved in line to the deceased then the research has to be conducted from the deceased to the beneficiary, independent of family testimony. In our experience family members tend not to know their extended family as well as they think they do. 

Family Tree Verification

Solicitors will often advise the administrator to obtain a professional report covering all beneficiaries even if the family are reasonably confident they have the right ones already. This is particularly true on larger value estates where the financial risks are greater. 

Missing Beneficiaries Insurance

If the administrator intends to go for Missing Beneficiaries Insurance then the insurance company will offer a lower premium (potentially much lower) if the research has been completed professionally compared to just being provided by the family. Again it is as much about checking there is no-one else as it is confirming the beneficiaries found. The insurance and the report will mitigate the administrator’s risk going forward.

At TraceInline we help solicitors solve problems like this by providing professional bounded reports with contact details, family tree, documentary evidence and a report signed as a statutory declaration.


Contact Details




Phone: +44 (0)23 92 988 966