How to Fill Out Petition for Probate California Form DE-111
The completion of Form DE-111, the petition for probate of a will, officially initiates the probate process. Unfortunately, the initial simplicity of this form is deceptive. In fact, many people attempting to file Form DE-11 don’t realize that it requires a multitude of custom-created attachments and extra documents. Therefore, we always recommend consulting with a legal document preparation service like A People’s Choice for help with Form DE-11. However, if you’re completing the paperwork on your own, we have provided step-by-step instructions below to help:
Step 1 – DE-111, Attorney or Party Without an Attorney
When filling out the petition for probate California Form DE-111, the administrator or executor of the will must complete the first section of the form, Attorney or Party Without an Attorney. Specifically, the personal representative must list their name, address, and phone number. Immediately following that section, the representative must fill in the court name and location.
Step 2 – DE-111, Petition for Section
In the Petition for Section, if the decedent has a will, the personal representative will mark one of the first two boxes. However, if there is no will, the third box should be checked.
Step 3 – DE-111, Line 1
As indicated in our previous article, How to Start the Probate Process in California, you must complete and file with the court a notice of the petition for probate to administer the estate. In Line 1 of DE-111, you must state how the publication will be made, referencing the probate hearing date. If you are making arrangements for publication, check box 2.
Step 4 – DE-111, Line 2
At Line 2 of Form DE-111, the personal representative completing the form should provide their personal information and check the type of appointment status they will use to probate the will. For example, this line will determine whether the will names a person to administer the estate, or executor, or if an administrator will be appointed.
The sub-categories of Line 2 address the bond requirements based on the real and personal property value of the estate. Contact a professional legal service provider for assistance with obtaining a bond.
Step 5 – DE-111, Line 3
Line 3 requires the personal representative to list personal information regarding the decedent after opening probate. This information includes when the decedent passed away, their principal place of residence, and the character and estimated value of their estate. Specifically, the character and estimated value of the estate includes the value of personal property, annual gross income, and the gross fair market value of real property less encumbrances. Keep in mind that the information listed here is an estimate and does not reflect the true value of the estate.
Furthermore, Line 3d references if a bond is not required and why. For example, the will may waive the need for a bond or the beneficiaries and heirs at law may ask for the bond to be waived.
One of the most important attachments to include with the petition to probate a will in California is a copy of the will. Line 3e requires a copy of the will along with any typed copies of documents it references. However, if there is no will and the decedent died intestate, then the petition would need to state that.
Line 3f requests information about the personal representative. This includes either the executor of the will or the administrator of the decedent’s estate who died intestate. If a will is involved, the personal representative will select the first box. If the decedent died intestate, the second box should be marked. Finally, the personal representative will have to list their residency and citizenship status.
Step 6 – DE-111, Line 4
Executors should almost always check Line 4 unless, in rare circumstances, the will precludes administration of the estate under the Independent Administration of Estates Act.
Step 7 – DE-111, Line 5
Line 5 identifies who survived the decedent and who must receive notice of the probate hearing. The personal representative should make sure to check all applicable boxes.
Step 8 – DE-111, Line 6
Line 6 must be completed in the event that the decedent was survived by a spouse or registered domestic partner, but no issue.
Step 9 – DE-111, Line 7
Line 7 applies when no spouse or issue survived the decedent.
Step 10 – DE-111, Line 8
In Line 8, you must list everyone named in the will. Additionally, everyone listed in this section must receive notice of the probate of the estate.
Legal Document Preparation Help
As discussed in our previous article, there are many more forms and detailed attachments that must accompany the petition to probate. Be sure to contact A People’s Choice for more information about our probate legal document preparation services and to learn how we can help.
Probate Note Deficiencies – A Common Problem
Unfortunately, people often contact us after they have filed the petition for probate on their own and then learn just before their scheduled hearing that they face pages of probate examiner notes outlining deficiencies in their documents. As with most things in life, it is always better to do things correctly the first time. Furthermore, fixing problems, particularly with an incorrectly filled petition for probate, often involves substantially more staff time than filling the form once.
That being said, should you find yourself in this predicament, don’t hesitate to contact us as soon as possible. A People’s Choice can fix problems, address deficiencies and errors addressed in probate notes, and get your petition for probate on track for court approval. Contact us today!