Locating missing or unknown heirs Is it Possible to Probate a Will with Missing or Unknown Heirs?
The probate process distributes a loved one’s property to them, Locating missing or unknown heirs after they die. Probate is required whether a person dies with or without a will (intestate). Probate guarantees that all obligations are paid, assets are inventoried properly, and assets are allocated to the correct recipients.
Probate is a reasonably simple procedure in many circumstances. However, the estate’s heirs may be missing – or even unknown – in some cases. If Locating missing or unknown heirs cannot be found, there are a few possibilities for probating an estate with the unknown, Locating missing or unknown heirs.
A professional probate attorney can assist you in probating your loved one’s estate if you are unable to locate their heirs. The three choices for probate with unknown heirs discussed below will allow you to move forward with the process and divide the assets according to Texas law.
Locating missing or unknown heirs
When a person passes away, their heirs — such as a surviving spouse, children, grandchildren, and other relatives – are frequently known. Many families face more difficult circumstances, such as children born outside of marriage or alienated relatives. If an heir cannot be found, the procedure of probating the will or estate can become more difficult.
If a person dies intestate in Texas, a personal representative is either specified in a will or appointed by the court. The personal representative is the one who initiates the probate procedure. If one or more heirs cannot be found, the personal representative must take specific measures before the estate can be probated.
In Texas, you can probate a will with unknown heirs. To move the procedure forward, a personal representative can file an affidavit of heirs, request a determination of heirship, search for the missing heirs, and/or issue a notice in the newspaper to discover the heirs.
Option 1: Locating missing or unknown heirs Affidavit
An affidavit of Heirs is a legal document that must be filed with the probate court. It includes the names, addresses, ages, and dates of death of all known heirs of the individual who died (decedent) (if applicable). People like a spouse, children (both biological and adoptive), grandparents, aunts, and uncles are frequently included in an Affidavit of Heirs.
The fact that someone is listed on the Affidavit of Heirs does not mean they are entitled to anything from the estate. It is, nonetheless, a vital step because it tells the court about the probable heirs and their whereabouts. The personal representative can file this affidavit.
To appropriately include all known heirs, the individual filling out this form must be familiar with the decedent and their family. This affidavit must be notarized and sworn. It will not impact a possible heir’s right to inherit if they are not named in the affidavit.
Option 2: Heirship Determination
An application to determine whether Locating missing or unknown heirs can be filed with the probate court if there are any missing or unknown heirs. The court uses this procedure to decide who the heirs are and who will receive parts of the inheritance.
The personal representative of the estate, a state creditor, a person claiming to be the estate’s owner, or a party seeking the appointment of an independent administrator can all apply for the determination of Locating missing or unknown heirs. In most cases, this application must be filed by a lawyer.
If the names and locations of the Locating missing or unknown heirs are unknown, the court may appoint an attorney ad l item to track down the missing heirs. A court hearing (proceeding to proclaim heirship) is required, as well as at least two witnesses who may testify about the decedent’s relatives and relationships.
Heir Search is the third option.
If any heirs are unknown or missing, a search might be conducted to try to locate them. A private investigator or an organization that specializes in their searches can do this.
An heir search allows the personal representative to name all potential heirs on the Affidavit of Heirs, which helps to fill in gaps in a family tree. It can be used to determine who the heirs are, as well as the location of any missing heirs.
The publication is the fourth option
The third alternative for probate with unknown heirs is to place a newspaper advertisement. This is frequently needed by the court and can be an effective method of locating heirs. The name of the decedent, the probate case number, and other pertinent information will be included in the publication.
It is not always successful, though, because many individuals do not read newspapers (or the alerts section). As a result, the publication is frequently used in conjunction with other ways to provide a more full picture of a decedent’s potential heirs, such as employing a company to look for heirs.
How Can We Assist?
The probate process can be daunting once a loved one passes away. When you are grieving and unfamiliar with the rules, complying with the legal requirements might be tough. It can be considerably more difficult if there are missing or unknown heirs.
We represent individuals and families in probate, including probate for unknown heirs, at Forbes & Forbes. We have a great deal of experience with all forms of Texas probate and will work with you throughout the process. Call 915-533-5441 or fill out our online contact form to learn more or to schedule a free consultation with an El Paso probate lawyer.
The probate process distributes a loved one’s property to their heirs after they die. Probate is required whether a person dies with or without a will (intestate). Probate guarantees that all obligations are paid, assets are inventoried properly, and assets are allocated to the correct recipients.
Probate is a reasonably simple procedure in many circumstances. However, the estate’s heirs may be missing – or even unknown – in some cases. If heirs cannot be found, there are a few possibilities for probating an estate with unknown heirs.