Tracing Lost Loved Ones

After a loved one passes away, it can be difficult to accept their death and cope with memories of them. Complicated grief can cause intense yearning, denial and a sense of unreality.


You can try searching through probate court records or checking the local library’s archives online. These resources can help you find out what assets a deceased loved one had and where they are located.

Find Their Valuables

Often when people die, they leave behind personal belongings and valuable items. For many family members, sorting through these items can be a difficult experience. Some of these belongings might have a special meaning and can bring back happy memories. Other items, however, might just remind them of their loved one’s death.

If you’re going to go through your lost loved ones possessions, try to keep the process as organized as possible. Getting help from other efficient and organized family members can speed up the process and also make it less emotionally taxing. Similarly, it’s often a good idea to call in a professional estate manager or house cleaner to deal with large or bulky items.

Additionally, if your missing loved one was a collector, it’s important to evaluate their collection before you start going through it. Don’t keep everything they collected, especially if it is not valuable or sentimental to you. Instead, take pictures of the items you want to keep and discard those that you’re unable or unwilling to keep.

It’s also a good idea to get a locksmith to change the locks of their home before beginning the process. This will ensure that their belongings won’t fall into the hands of outside caretakers or neighbors. It will also allow you to avoid any potential legal issues related to their belongings.

Search Their Home

It can be stressful and even dangerous to reach out to a loved one who may have cut off all communication. Depending on the reason for their disappearance, they may not want to hear from you at all or even know you are trying to find them. It is also possible that they might not discuss their situation with friends and family, so your search could “out” them and threaten relationships.

It is important to collect as much information on your missing loved one as possible before you begin searching. Try to recall any specific traits about their personality, such as favorite idioms or hobbies. You can also search social media for their name, and you can look at the city’s phone directories to see if they have listed their contact information.

If your loved one lived alone and gave their house keys to neighbors or outside caretakers, it is important to check their homes as well. You should also make sure to check their desks and safety deposit boxes for any documents that could give you clues on why they went missing. It is also a good idea to change the locks on their home and vehicles. You can also ask a reputable locksmith to forward their mail to you while you are searching. If you’re still unable to locate your lost loved one, consider hiring a private investigator. They can be very useful in helping to trace your loved ones and reunite you.

Check Their Assets

Most people in modern society now have online assets that continue to exist after death, from their bank accounts to email to social media to subscriptions. In the best case scenario, a loved one will have left a detailed list of usernames and passwords for these accounts so that their family can access them in order to close them out. However, it’s not always that simple.

If your loved ones have a large amount of investments in the form of stocks or bonds, it can be difficult to find out where these are held. Fortunately, there are companies that specialize in finding such assets. They can search the records of no-longer-existing banks as well as search public records for any real estate, businesses, or other assets that may have been overlooked.

Another place to check for financial assets is at a deceased person’s employer, particularly if they had any life insurance policies or retirement benefits. If they didn’t make specific arrangements for these to be transferred to their beneficiaries, there are specialized databases that can be searched for unclaimed funds such as MIB and Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation.

Some people also keep their wealth in digital forms such as cryptocurrency or NFTs, which can be even harder to trace than physical possessions. If you know a relative who did the majority of their investing online, try searching their website or other platforms such as Bitcoin, Reddit, and YouTube. Using their name, nickname, or available information on them can help you narrow down your search results.

Find Their Friends & Relatives

The best place to start any search for a lost loved one is with family members. Close relatives, such as grandparents, aunts/uncles and cousins, can often provide critical information that can help you find a loved one. They might know your relative’s name, age, possible location history or other identifying information.

Other resources to consider include social media, schools, work and places of worship. Posting an ad on sites like Craigslist is another good way to get the word out about a missing loved one. You can also try posting on Facebook and Twitter, which have a large global user base.

If your lost loved one was separated from their family due to war, natural disaster or other emergency, there are special agencies that can help reunite them. Contact the Red Cross office in your country and the country where they last lived. You can also contact NamUS, the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System, a database managed by the U.S. Department of Justice.

If you are not having much luck finding a long-lost friend or family member, you can hire a professional investigator to conduct a background check on them. This can be the most effective and fastest way to locate a loved one because the investigator will have access to sources that you may not. They can also conduct an investigation without the lost loved one being aware that they are being searched.