Must beneficiaries who were listed in a Will but later excluded, be notified of the testator’s passing?

UPDATED: Jun 9, 2014

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Must beneficiaries who were listed in a Will but later excluded, be notified of the testator’s passing?

I am one of several beneficiaries of my uncle’s estate. Over 10 years ago, 2 individuals were removed from his Will due to various reasons. The attorney assisting in settling his estate insists that we find these 2 individuals “in case they want to sue the estate”. The attorney has spent months and money “attempting” to find them and is now saying we have to pay for a private investigator to help locate them. My uncle passed away almost a year ago. This has been going on since then. My uncle removed them from his Will due to his own reasons. Why are we being told that they have to be found and what recourse do we have for the money that has been spent in trying to find them?

Asked on June 9, 2014 under Estate Planning, Ohio


M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

I am so sorry for your loss and for the issues you are having here.  The attorney may just be trying to follow the law there.  The law requires that the fiduciary send notice of the filing of the Will to all persons listed in the Will and those who would inherit if there was no Will or the Will was invalid.  If these parties that were excluded would have been in that group then locating them - or a valid attempt to do so - is necessary.  You have to do all that you can before you ask the court to allow you to publish a notification and then move on. If the estate is large or cumbersome in other ways it can take time.  Good luck.

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