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If you're the executor, administrator or trustee of a deceased person's estate, and you need to find out if the deceased is recorded as being a parent of any children, you can apply for a Section 50 search. This search is often used to find beneficiaries of a deceased's estate.

You can visit a service centre and lodge your application in person, or post the information.


  • If the deceased was born overseas, only their time spent as a resident in NSW will be searched.
  • Searches can be conducted for deceased females from ages 12 to 60, and for males from age 12 until death.
  • If you're not a legal practitioner but are the administrator or trustee of the estate, you must provide 3 forms of your identification
  • Where solicitors apply for certificates on behalf of clients, they must provide:
    • a letter on company letterhead stating the reason required ('legal' is not sufficient; a specific reason is needed, such as Probate, Estate Administration), together with the name of the client the solicitor is acting for
    • the letter must be accompanied by a completed application form and a copy of your Law Society ID Card or Practising Certificate
    • the solicitor's name must be written in the Applicant's Details section
    • payment must be made with a company or trust cheque, or company credit card.

What you need

  • your personal and contact details
  • your client's details
  • the details of the search required
  • 3 personal identity documents as specified on the form (if applicable)
  • the PDF form – 'Apply for a Section 50 Search'.

How to apply

  1. Check the eligibility requirements
  2. Download and complete the Apply for a Section 50 Search – PDF.
  3. Make sure you have all the required documentation.
  4. Submit your application using the details on the form.

More information

  • Certificates are sent by the Registry of Births, Deaths & Marriages via registered post. They cannot be collected at a service centre.
  • Turnaround times commence when applications are received in full compliance with Registry requirements, and exclude delivery time.
  • If you change your mind, or decide the certificate is no longer required, your application fee will not be refunded.
  • Documents provided as proof of identity may have their authenticity verified through the online Certificate Validation Service (CertValid) and the National Document Verification Service (DVS).

Payment methods

You can review transaction payment options on our payment methods page.

Last updated: 7 December 2022