Section 50 search

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    A section 50 search is used to find beneficiaries of a deceased person's estate so that assets can be distributed. Under Section 50 of the Births, Deaths and Marriages Registration Act 1995 (NSW), a Section 50 search certifies whether or not the deceased person is recorded as being a parent of any children. 

    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. If the deceased person 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.

    What you'll need

    All legal practitioners who apply for a section 50 search must provide:

    • a letter on company letterhead stating the reason required ("legal" is not sufficient; a specific reason is required e.g. probate, estate administration) together with the name of the client for whom the solicitor is acting
    • a completed section 50 search application form to accompany the letter
    • a copy of Law Society ID Card or Practising Certificate.
    • the legal practitioner's name written in the Applicant's Details section
    • payment with a company or trust cheque, or company credit card.

    If you are not a legal practitioner but are the administrator or trustee of the estate, you must provide at least three forms of identification from the table below.


    You must provide a least three forms of current ID, one of each from Categories 1, 2 and 3. If you’re unable to provide ID from Categories 1 and 2, you must still provide at least three forms of ID. At least two of these must be from Category 3. If you’re unable to comply with these requirements, please contact us for further advice.

    ​Identification 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 Processing ​Priority Processing
    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​$329
    ​71 to 80 years​$374
    ​81 to 90 years​$419

    Processing time

    Processing begins when we have received your complete and correct application. Certificates are delivered by registered post when you apply by post, online or with Service NSW.

    For detail information about certificate turnaround time see Processing times.

    How to apply

    Download the Section 50 search application - PDF