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This entry was published on 2014-09-22
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SECTION 2225
Determination of distributees, devisees, legatees, beneficiaries and distributive and beneficial shares In any proceeding where the court...
Surrogate's Court Procedure Act (SCP) CHAPTER 59-A, ARTICLE 22
§ 2225. Determination of distributees, devisees, legatees, beneficiaries

and distributive and beneficial shares

In any proceeding where the court is required to determine the
distributees entitled to share in the estate under EPTL 4-1.1, or where
a devisee, legatee or a beneficiary of a will or trust subject to the
jurisdiction of the court is entitled to money or property upon the
occurrence of a specified event, the petition may request the court as
incidental thereto to adjudge that (a) a person who might otherwise be a
distributee, devisee, legatee or beneficiary is dead or (b) that no
distributees, devisees, legatees or beneficiaries other than those
stated in the record exists. Citation shall issue to the person named
and to unknown distributees or to unknown devisees, legatees or
beneficiaries, if any. For the purposes of this section, a "specified
event" shall be the time specified in the will or lifetime trust for the
determination of the identity of the devisee, legatee, beneficiary or
members of a class thereof entitled to share in the estate or trust
property.

(a) If it is established to the satisfaction of the court that a
person who would be a distributee, or a devisee, legatee or beneficiary
upon the occurrence of a specified event, has not been heard from for a
period of at least three years since the death of the decedent, or since
the occurrence of such event, as the case may be, that a diligent search
has been made to discover evidence that such person is still living, and
that no such evidence has been found, the court may make a determination
that such person is presumed dead and that he or she predeceased the
decedent without issue or that such devisee, legatee or beneficiary is
presumed to have died prior to the occurrence of such event and that
such person died prior thereto without issue other than those issues
stated in the record.

(b) If it appears to the satisfaction of the court that diligent and
exhaustive efforts have been made from all available sources to
ascertain the existence of distributees, or members of a class of
devisees, legatees or beneficiaries, that at least three years have
elapsed since the death of the decedent, or since the occurrence of the
specified event upon which such class is finally determined, as the case
may be, that the parties before the court know of no distributees of the
decedent, or of such legatees, devisees or beneficiaries, other than
those stated in the record, and that no claim to a share in the estate
or trust has been made by any person whose relationship or existence has
not been established in the record, the court may make a determination
that no distributee of the decedent or class of distributees exists, or
that no such devisee, legatee or beneficiary, or members of a class of
legatees, devisees or beneficiaries exists, other than those whose
status is established in the record before the court.

(c) Upon making the findings under subdivision (a) or (b) of this
section, the court may direct distribution of the assets to those
distributees or to those devisees, legatees and beneficiaries whose
relationship or present existence has been established in the record
before the court.