As the executor, I can't locate a beneficiary. How do I proceed?

I am the executor of my grandparent's will. My sister and I are the only beneficiaries. I'm needing to probate the will in order to sell my grandparent's condo. I've been trying to contact my sister for two years, but she wants nothing to do with anyone in BC (including me) since she moved to another province.



Tofino, BC

As executor, in order to sell your grandparent's condo, you need to probate their will. The land title office will ask you to provide a grant of probate to transfer the condo. 

Under BC law, before applying for the probate grant, the executor needs to send a notice of their intention to apply for the grant to certain people, including beneficiaries named in the will.

Your sister has to be given this notice.

If you can't locate her, the first thing to do is arrange a trace. This is where you hire someone to locate a person's whereabouts. There are several companies in BC that offer tracing services. Whichever company you choose to work with, they will want as much information about your sister as you can provide.

That information might include your sister’s last known address, to which province she may have moved, whether she is employed, whether there are other family members who might know something, and so on.

If the trace is unsuccessful, you will need to apply to court under rule 25-2 for an order either dispensing with notice or notifying your sister in a different way. For example, a court could allow you to notify her by posting an advertisement in a local newspaper.

Once you have the court order relating to notice, you then can proceed to apply for the grant of probate.

Jack Micner

Jack Micner

Spry Hawkins Micner 
  • Reviewed in April 2021
  • This information applies to British Columbia, Canada

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