In California, when probating a will, all interested parties must be notified. The notice requirements in probate vary from case to case but basically include all interested parties such as beneficiaries, heirs, and the estate’s creditors. In addition, special notice may be required to various governmental agencies such as the Department of Healthcare Services and Franchise Tax Board. Notice provides these people and entities the opportunity to declare any claims they may have against the decedent’s estate before assets are distributed according to the will. Notice must be provided in accordance with the U.S. Constitution and California Probate Code. Read on to learn more about the notice requirements in probate.
Petition Notice Requirements in Probate
All persons and entities (e.g., business, church, or non-profit) named in a will are entitled to receive notice of the Petition for Probate. Not only must beneficiaries be provided with notice of the probated will, persons who will inherit property by intestate succession must also receive notice. Look at Attachment 8 of the Petition of Probate to make sure all parties are listed in regards to notice. The appointed personal representative must hire a third-party to provide notice. Notice may be provided by first class mail or by personal delivery. Documents to serve on interested parties (see Attachment 8 of the probate petition) includes the Notice of Petition to Administer Estate and the Petition for Probate. A proof of service must be filed with the court.
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Notice must also be published in a local newspaper where the decedent passed away at least three (3) times before the court hearing. The first publication must be at least fifteen (15) days before the hearing date. An affidavit from the newspaper providing proof of publication must be filed with the court clerk prior to the hearing.
At the court hearing, if the court is satisfied that the Petition to Probate was prepared properly, the notice requirements in probate were fully satisfied and the will is adequately proved, the court will admit the will into probate and issue the Letters Testamentary. If the decedent died without a will, the court will issue Letters of Administration.
How is Notice to Creditors Given in California?
Next, once the Letters are issued, the personal representative must identify and take possession of the estate’s assets. The personal representative must assess each asset and prepare an Inventory and Appraisal. This must be filed with the court within four (4) months of the Letters being issued.
The personal representative must complete Form DE – 157, Notice of Administration to Creditor. The representative must send each creditor a copy of the signed form and a copy of a blank Creditor’s Claim form (DE-172). If a creditor files a claim against the estate, the personal representative can either pay the claim or file a dispute. After creditor claims elapse, the estate may be closed.
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