Why is Giving Good Probate Notice So Important?
Giving notice is required in every probate that you do and it’s important that if you have an accurate address for a person, that you use it. I’m going to explain why during the course of probate you may need to do a petition for instructions (and this is just one example of a petition that you may file during the course of probate).
The purpose of the petition for instructions is: you’ve come into some situation where the right thing to do isn’t entirely clear. So you file this petition with the court in which you’re saying, “Judge this is the problem that I’m facing this is how I think it ought to be resolved. And now, I want to order from you telling me that this is what I’m supposed to do.” But when you file that petition you’re gonna have to give notice to all the beneficiaries of the estate so that they have proper notice about what’s going on; and they can object if they want to.
Well when you open probate, you had to use last known address for each person.
If you find out after that time that you got a bad address, you want to make sure that you’re using a good address. You have to give notice based on the actual addresses of the people that are involved. If you don’t give notice, that petition is never going to be granted. When it comes time to closing probate again and you’re gonna get have to give notice of your petition that you’re closing the probate estate, you have to inform everyone and unless everybody’s waived you’re going to be doing a first and final account. Well, that account is all the financial information the beneficiaries are entitled to. If the beneficiaries are upset for a good reason, a bad reason, or no reason, they have the ability to file an objection with the court. But of course, they won’t know to do that unless you’ve in fact given the notice of the hearing.
Now, the court is going to require that you will file a notice and that everybody who’s supposed to have gotten the notice, has in fact received it. And here’s the reason.
Even when probate is over, you want to be sure that you’ve given good notice. If you haven’t noticed a beneficiary and probate has closed, a beneficiary can come back into court afterward and allege that you fraudulently told the court that you’ve given notice when in fact, you didn’t and so now the beneficiary is going to unwind or ask the court to unwind anything that they haven’t got notice for.
So for example:
If you’ve done that final account and you’ve told the court how you want to make the distributions and you’ve already distributed the money and a beneficiary comes in later to say ,”you didn’t send it to my address you left two digits off”, that mail must have been coming back to you because was undeliverable.
“I live in one two three four five Main Street you sent it to one two three Main Street. There is no one two three Main Street in my town.” That must have been returned, you must have known, and you still went forward. You didn’t tell the court you were using a bad address. Well, the probate court judge can then set aside everything that you’ve done. And if that beneficiary is right, if something has been done wrong even though there’s no money in the estate left for you to defend yourself, you’re going to be on the receiving end of a lawsuit because the notice you gave was bad. So it is critically important to the extent that you are humanly able to that you give good notice in every part of the probate process.
If you need to do a probate or have questions about completing a probate, do not hesitate to contact our office today or via phone at 888-443-6590.
AttorneyThe Grossman Law Firm, APC · 525 B Street, Suite 1500, San Diego, CA 92101 · (951) 523-8307