Giving Notice to Estate Beneficiaries

Beneficiaries of an estate are entitled to notice when the estate is being probated, and it’s the executor’s job to send the notice. Today, we’ll give a brief overview on how to fulfill this part of the estate process.

Giving notice to the beneficiaries is required by statute and should typically be done at the outset of the estate. Giving notice is usually done by mail on the standard form provided by the Register of Wills of your county. When you send this out, you should also keep a certificate of service to prove that you sent it. The executor or administrator will need to file a statement with the Register of Wills that notice was sent. Ordinarily, however, you will not file the actual statements that were sent.

Giving notice to the beneficiaries is not only required by statute. It also has several positive purposes. First, it lets the beneficiaries know who’s handling the estate and who they’ll need to communicate with as the process goes forward. Because many beneficiaries do not realize that estates can take several months to settle, they can often be antsy about when they’ll receive their money or other property after someone has passed away. Second, it ensures that none of the beneficiaries come forward trying to claim that the estate is being mismanaged or that no estate was opened, causing a conflict before the court as to who the proper executor or administrator should be. Third, the process of identifying all the beneficiaries helps the executor/administrator to keep clear in their own mind who will receive what or what percentage each is entitled to at the end of the probate process.

If you’ve been named executor/administrator of an estate, and you have questions about probate, contact Cornerstone Law Firm. Our estate attorneys can help you in reconciling your loved one’s estate, ensuring that it is handled correctly and that there are no claims against you in the process.