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In prior segments, we have talked about formal probate procedures, and have covered many areas surrounding it. In this segment, the discussion will shift toward a focus on notice. In this area, the meaning of notice will vary among the several categories in which notice is served, or whether the notice is a statement surrounding the category in which the notice is an actionable statement made.

Petition for administration. When the petition for administration is filed, the court must set a predetermined time for proving the will, if there is any need for such action. The court must set a time to determine the rightful and lawful heir(s), and set a time for the appointment of a personal representative to the matter.

Notice of hearing. The notice of the hearing in regards to the petition must be presented to any and all interested persons, as well as the guardian ad litem, if they are represented by one. With the exception of persons whose sole concern is as beneficiary of monetary bequest or specific property, a copy of the will must be sent to all persons involved. To the individuals whose interest is as beneficiary of monetary bequest or specific property, a notice of the nature, as well as the amount of devise or bequest must be presented.a person's will and a gavel

Interested persons consist of; the beneficiary or heir of the decedent, the beneficiary of the will including the trustee, the individual presented as personal representative, the beneficiary of trust created under the will, the attorney specified, a beneficiary under prior will or beneficiary that has been excluded from the will by codicil, court ordered individuals, and finally under certain circumstances, included are the adopted children of decedent, if applicable.

How the notice is given. Under § 879.05, a court or a probate registrar must order a notice if a notice is required by law, or if it is found to be necessary by the court or by a probate registrar. The court or a probate registrar can order both or either; service by publication, or personal service to the person or persons which are designated recipients.

Each interested party is entitled to notice, as is any guardian ad litem, guardian of the estate, attorney, or attorney general when charitable trust or escheat are involved under sections § 701.0103(4), and § 852.01(3), respectively. In cases where a petition shows, or appears to show, that the individual is living in a foreign country and their address is unknown, the court must cause notice of the hearing petition or other proceeding to be given to the consul, vice consul, or consular agent of the foreign country by mail. It must be sent to the post-office address a minimum of 20 days before the hearing. Although, if none are available to be reached, the court may mail the notice to the attorney general.

In addition, if the order does not state the persons specifically in regards to whom the notice is given, or the order is deemed to refer to the persons in the petition, or are shown on record to be the interested person(s), notices will be sent to the post-office addresses on record. If the post-office address of the interested person is unknown, or if the names of the interested persons are unknown, the notice must state this and be accompanied by a statement in a publication of a notice.

If you have any additional questions on probate procedure, please call me.

Trisha Festerling, J.D.

Family Law Attorney

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