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 regarding the distribution of property to heirs. Unfortunately, the initial simplicity of this form is deceptive. Many people attempting to file Form DE-11 don’t realize that it requires a multitude of custom-created attachments and extra documents to initiate the entire legal process.
Therefore, we always recommend consulting with a legal document preparation service like A People’s Choice for help with Form DE-111. We have a bunch of professionals experienced in probate matters hence the minimal need to hire a probate attorney during your probate petition. 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 in the probate form. Next, the representative must fill in the probate 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 probate and family court a notice of the petition for probate to administer the estate assets. 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 name a person to administer the estate (priority for an appointment), 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 through a faster process.
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 the decedent’s time of death (attach death certificate), their principal place of residence, and the estimated value of their estate property. Information that should not be given out includes bank account and social security numbers. Specifically, the character and an estimated value of the estate include the value of personal property, annual gross income, and the gross fair market value of real property fewer encumbrances.
Keep in mind that the information listed here is an estimate and does not reflect the true value of the real estate. Furthermore, Line 3d) references a bond requirement. 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 deceased person died intestate, then the petition would need to state that at the time of filing. In case of any additional feedback, you’ll also get notified.
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 regarding probate administration. If the decedent died intestate, the second box should be marked since it covers intestate succession. Finally, the personal representative will have to list their residency and citizenship status before a formal proceeding starts. This is not usually the case for informal probate.
Step 6 – DE-111, Line 4
Executors should almost always check Line 4 unless, in rare circumstances, the will precludes the estate administration process under the Independent Administration of Estates Act.
Step 7 – DE-111, Line 5
Line 5 identifies who survived the decedent and who must get notified of the probate hearing through a legal notice. The personal representative should make sure to check all applicable boxes.
Step 8 – DE-111, Line 6
Line 6 must be completed if the decedent was survived by a spouse or registered domestic partner, but no legal issue was made.
Step 9 – DE-111, Line 7
Line 7 applies when no spouse or other family member survived the decedent as legal heirs.
Step 10 – DE-111, Line 8
In Line 8, you must list everyone named in the will (including minor heirs). Additionally, everyone listed in this section must receive legal notice of the formal probate.
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 hence getting denied a grant of probate. Such individuals are only conversant with filing informal probate for an informal probate proceeding.
As with most things in life, you should make a reasonable effort to do things correctly the first time to ensure proper petition of the probate estate. This may also prove your testamentary capacity as an executor. Furthermore, fixing problems, particularly with an incorrectly filled petition for probate, often involves substantially more staff time than filling the form once. Passing an estate through probate requires your due diligence to make it a simplified process.
That being said, should you find yourself in this predicament, don’t hesitate to contact us as soon as possible before the formal probate proceeding starts or seeking the services of an experienced attorney. A People’s Choice can fix problems, address deficiencies and errors stated in probate notes, and get your petition for probate on track for court approval through a simplified process. You’ll then be granted letters of testamentary to distribute the deceased’s probate assets.