COVID-19 Notice: In order to best serve you while doing our part to maximize health and safety, we continue to be available for telephone and Zoom video conferences, and documents can be prepared, reviewed, signed, and exchanged electronically. Call 646-561-9099 for your legal needs!


For Estate Planning, Estate Administration And Disputes

Steps to proving you looked for an estate’s heirs

On Behalf of | Jun 27, 2022 | Estate Administration & Probate |

If you are the executor of an estate, there is a lot to navigate when it comes to the probate process. There are assets, both physical and intangible, you must attend to as stipulated in a will.

Finding who to divide the estate between complicates the process further—especially if you need to locate international heirs.

New York due diligence

According to New York statutes, executors and petitioners must submit an affidavit of due diligence when locating heirs. This aims to prove that they conducted a sufficient search with appropriate correspondence.

Investigations and searches

As the executor, you have access to the decedent’s personal effects, including any address books or contact lists they may have had in life. Your affidavit should indicate that you examined these and made inquiries with the decedent’s relatives, neighbors and other contacts including financial institutions.

Proofs of correspondence

In regards to missing distributees or heirs, the courts may require that your affidavit have evidence that you attempted to contact them at their last known addresses, telephone numbers or internet contact methods.

Thankfully, this is not aimed to make your searches an expensive, comprehensive affair.

Reaching international heirs

If you live outside the US or are the executor of an estate with international heirs, the estate administration may become an extremely complicated matter. As a matter of due diligence, it is important to organize all relevant documents before, during and after the estate matters conclude. That preparation may help take care of things in a timely fashion, avoid unnecessary conflicts and divide your decedent’s estate to the heirs who made contact with you.