As I mentioned yesterday I am a frequent lecturer on California probate and estate planning. Down below are my notes from a 2008 lecture on the probate process given here in Sacramento to a room full of attorneys. There are a lot of little issues involved with putting creditors on notice in probate. Failure to do so can leave the Personsal Representative (Administrator or Executor) personally financially liable. Yes, I said PERSONALLY LIABLE! Make sure you work with a qualified California probate attorney.
For more information contact me directly or visit our probate website at www.californiaprobate.info
a. The hospital or rest home, if any, where the decedent died.
b. All physicians or other health-care providers who treated the decedent.
c. All ambulance companies used.
d. The landlord (if decedent rented) or mortgage holder (if decedent owned property).
e. All employees and providers of services (gardener, cook, accountant, maid, etc.).
f. Utility companies (gas, water, electricity, telephone, cable television, etc.).
g. Note payees (may be found by reviewing tax returns for the list of interest deductions).
h. All credit card companies (also return any credit cards cut in half at the time the notice is given).
i. Anyone who sends a bill to the decedent.
j. Any securities broker who may have a margin account or other obligation due.
k. Those interested in the decedent’s guaranties or contingent liabilities, which may appear on any financial statements of the decedent.
l. Creditors of the decedent’s business if it appears likely that there may have been personal guaranties or if the business is not incorporated.
PRACTICE POINTER: When in doubt put them on notice! I always suggest to my clients that they put everybody on official notice of administration of the estate by sending the Notice of Administration form with a blank creditor’s claim form. I recommend doing this to heirs at law, beneficiaries and anybody who may have expended money before or after death in regards to the decedent or her estate. I even put the PR herself on notice in case they have to file a creditor’s claim in the estate for some reason. The bottom line, to me, I want to know who all creditors are so when the probate ends I know my client, the PR, does not have anything to worry about!