Beneficiaries search (section 50)

When a person dies without a will you can ask us to search our records to see if they have been recorded as a parent to any children. This is known as a section 50 search.

This search of our records can help decide who is entitled to the money, property, possessions and any debts of the person who has died (the estate).

What we can search

We search NSW birth register and check the names of people registered as parents to see if they match the information you provide. The search includes: 

  • women who have died, aged 12 to 60 and 
  • men who have died, aged 12 and above. 

If the person who has died was born in another country, we only search our records for the time they spent as a resident of NSW.

Who can apply

You can apply for a section 50 search if you are an executor, administrator or trustee of the estate of a deceased person.

Proof of identity

You must provide a least 3 forms of current identity, one of each from Categories 1, 2 and 3. 

  • If you cannot provide proof of identity from Categories 1 and 2, you must still provide at least 3 forms of identity. At least two of these must be from Category 3.
  • If cannot meet these requirements, contact us for further advice. 

CategoryIdentification documents

​If born in Australia:

  • An Australian birth certificate

Record of immigration status:

  • Citizenship certificate
  • New Zealand citizenship certificate together with passport

  • New Zealand birth certificate

  • ​Australia's driver's licence
  • Australian passport

  • Firearms licence

  • Foreign passport

  • Proof of age card

  • ​Medicare card
  • Centrelink or Department of Veterans Affairs card

  • Security/Crowd control licence

  • Tertiary education institution ID card

  • ​Recent utility account with current residential address (issued within last 3 months)

Period of Search

Standard service

Priority service

1 to 10 years



11 to 20 years



21 to 30 years


31 to 40 years


41 to 50 years


51 to 60 years


61 to 70 years


71 to 80 years


81 to 90 years


All prices include postage & handling. Add $9 for international post.

Processing times

Processing begins when we have received your complete and correct application.

  • Certificates are delivered by registered post. The processing time does not include delivery, please see Australia Post website for current delivery times within Australia or International.

Certificate request



​​Submitted by post

up to 4 weeksup to 2 weeks

Registry agent (Service NSW)

up to 3 weeksup to 2 weeks


How to apply

Download and post your completed form (see form for address) and proof of identity to Registry of Births Deaths & Marriages or visit your nearest Service NSW centre.

If you are a solicitor applying for a section 50 search on behalf of a client you must provide:

  • a letter on company letterhead stating:
    • the name of your client and the nature of your representation
    • the reason for the search, such as probate or estate administration
    • the link between your client and the person whose name appears on the application form and
    • for estate matters, the relevant provisions of the Succession Act 2006 relating to eligibility.
  • completed Section 50 search application (PDF, 811.03 KB) (PDF 536.94KB) with your name as the applicant and
  • certified copy of your Law Society ID Card or practising certificate and
  • payment with a company or trust cheque or company credit card.

To learn more, see the information for solicitors and agents.

If you are not a legal practitioner but are the administrator or trustee of the estate, you must provide at least 3 forms of identification as per the requirements for proof of identity.

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