Next of Kin/ Re Benjamin Research
The Benjamin Order is a type of order that was based on the Re: Benjamin; Neville v Benjamin (1902) 1 Ch 723. This case resulted after the death of Frederick Cutts, who had died in 1954, his will declaring his estate to be shared amongst his four children. However, Frederick?s second wife Adelaide applied for a successful family provision, which awarded her a life interest in some real estate property. When Adelaide passed in 1996, so did Frederick?s children, leaving this estate to this grandchildren. Therefore Frederick?s estate was to be divided amongst his grandchildren, however, one of his grandchildren passed away, leaving a son who could not be located. This great-grandson was equally entitled to Frederick?s estate as a beneficiary due to his status as an eligible relative alongside two other family members; however, officials could not locate him. The search included advertisements across NSW, Victoria and WA as well as enquiries with authorities in those states. This search was conducted across 18 years producing a negative result; ultimately the judge overseeing the case granted the estate to the two remaining grandchildren, including the great-grandson?s share.
Based on this case a court can therefore administer a Benjamin order for the distribution of a deceased?s assets if beneficiary is unknown to be dead or alive. Worthington Clark offers our client Re Benjamin research through which we research the whereabouts of an unknown beneficiary or eligible relative. Worthington Clark conducts Benjamin Order / next of kin research not only across NSW and Australia but also internationally as appropriate to demonstrate exhaustive efforts to determine the living status and whereabouts of the relevant person. Where our efforts do not or cannot definitively establish the whereabouts or living status of the deceased we collate all evidence and detail all research undertaken into our Benjamin Order Report which can be used to support with a view to satisfying the court on a Re Benjamin application.