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Probate and Estate Litigation Blog

What happens if an heir cannot be found?

Minnesota residents who are involved in the probate portion of a loved one's estate understand how complicated the distribution portion can be. Occasionally an heir is mentioned in an estate but they cannot be found. There are steps that can be taken when this situation arises.

When an heir cannot be found, an estate executor may need to contact a search firm to try and find the heir. If the estate is ready to make a distribution then an executor can ask the court to make a preliminary distribution to the heirs that can be located. An executor can also arrange to distribute the share of the person who cannot be located to a contingent beneficiary or the state where the money will be held until it is claimed. Once this money is released, the estate can be closed.

Having a missing heir in an estate can lead to delays and extra cost in the probate process. A legal professional who specializes in probate disputes has experience in these situations where there are complications. An attorney understands how frustrating this can be for heirs who are expecting their share of an estate. They can work hard to help resolve this situation in as short amount of time as possible while making sure their client's best interests are being protected.

Often an estate can run into probate disputes and other complications. In these situations it is important to have an attorney who has experience navigating the intricacies of the probate process. Unfortunately not all estate in probate go smoothly and in these situations, having an experienced attorney can be a good idea.

Source:, "The case of the missing heir", Liza Horvath, Sept. 2, 2017

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