Notify persons of interest

Settle the Estate

Once an executor or administrator is authorized to settle the deceased’s estate, state law typically requires that they notify beneficiaries, or other interested parties, that a petition for probate has been submitted to probate court.

This notification gives people the opportunity to contest the will, the chosen executor or administrator, or make any specific requests during a hearing.

State law requires that interested parties be notified once an executor or administrator is authorized to settle the deceased’s estate with:

  • Preliminary Letters Testamentary
  • Formal Letters Testamentary
  • Letters of Administration

In general, “interested parties” refers to the following people:

  • All people or organizations (e.g. charities, religious institutions) named in the will
  • Each person or organization named as executor, administrator, or personal representative of the estate
  • All people who would have been entitled to receive an inheritance if there was no will, as determined by state probate law
  • People and organizations the deceased owed money
  • Business partners of the deceased (if they owned a business)

Typically, the court will provide a form to notify interested parties about the hearing in two ways:

  • To publish in a local newspaper where the deceased lived. The local newspaper will place the notice in a specific section of the paper, where other probate notices are published.
  • To be mailed directly to interested parties

Lightbulb_Icon.svgGood to Know Because notifying interested parties is a required part of the legal probate process, keep copies and records of any notices that were published or sent to interested parties.

Review the questions below to learn more about notifying persons of interest.

Helpful Tips


NOTICE OF APPOINTMENT NOTICE TO CREDITORS NOTICE TO UNKNOWN HEIRS

To all interested persons in the Estate of [Name of Deceased], Estate No. [Estate Number]. Notice is given that [Name of Executor], whose address is [Executor’s Address] was on [Date of Executor’s Appointment] appointed Executor of the Estate of [Name of Deceased] who died on [Date of Death] [with/without] a Will. Further information can be obtained by reviewing the estate file in the office of the Register of Wills or by contacting the lawyer of the Executor.

All persons having any objection to the appointment (or to the probate of the decedent’s will) shall file their objections with the Register of Wills on or before the [Deadline to File Objections]. Any person having a claim against the decedent must present the claim to the undersigned Executor or file it with the Register of Wills with a copy to the undersigned on or before the earlier of the following dates: (1) [Deadline to respond from the date of the decedent’s death]; or (2) [Deadline to respond after the Executor mails or otherwise deliver to the creditor a copy of this published notice or other written notice], notifying the creditor that the claim will be barred unless the creditor presents the claims within [deadline] from the mailing or other delivery of the notice. A claim not presented or filed on or before that date, or any extension provided by law, is unenforceable thereafter. Claim forms may be obtained from the Register of Wills.

[Name of Register of Wills], Register of Wills for [County, State] [Courthouse Address]

Personal Considerations


Are there specific individuals named in the will?


Contact all people named in the deceased’s will and notify them they were named in the will.

People can be contacted in any manner (e.g., phone call, email, letter) but it is always wise to contact people in writing that way there is a record they were contacted.

Also, notify them who has been appointed executor or administrator, as they will need to communicate with this person while the estate is being settled.

Exclamation_Icon.svgImportant If the named individuals are to receive an inheritance according to the will, the executor or administrator will be responsible for giving them the assets listed in the will.


State law still typically requires that a notice of death (also called a notice of appointment or notice to creditors) be published in a local newspaper where the deceased lived.

This notice will inform people when the deceased died, who has been appointed executor or administrator, and who to contact if they have an interest in the estate.

State law determines how long individuals have to contact the executor or administrator after the notice is published (usually 3-6 months).

Most probate courts require proof that the notice of death has been published, either by supplying the court with the date the notice appeared in the local newspaper or providing a copy of published notice.

Keep a record of the dates the notice appeared in the local newspaper, as well as the name of the newspaper where it was published. It may also be wise to retain a copy of the newspaper that contains the notice.


If there are specific individuals named in the will:

Contact all people named in the deceased’s will and notify them they were named in the will.

People can be contacted in any manner (e.g., phone call, email, letter) but it is always wise to contact people in writing that way there is a record they were contacted.

Also, notify them who has been appointed executor or administrator, as they will need to communicate with this person while the estate is being settled.

Exclamation_Icon.svgImportant If the named individuals are to receive an inheritance according to the will, the executor or administrator will be responsible for giving them the assets listed in the will.

If there are not specific individuals named in the will:

State law still typically requires that a notice of death (also called a notice of appointment or notice to creditors) be published in a local newspaper where the deceased lived.

This notice will inform people when the deceased died, who has been appointed executor or administrator, and who to contact if they have an interest in the estate.

State law determines how long individuals have to contact the executor or administrator after the notice is published (usually 3-6 months).

Most probate courts require proof that the notice of death has been published, either by supplying the court with the date the notice appeared in the local newspaper or providing a copy of published notice.

Keep a record of the dates the notice appeared in the local newspaper, as well as the name of the newspaper where it was published. It may also be wise to retain a copy of the newspaper that contains the notice.


Does the deceased have heirs?


Contact any heirs of the deceased and notify them who has been appointed executor or administrator. If the deceased had a will, contact the heirs named in the will.

If the deceased did not have a will, or the will does not identify heirs, they will be determined by state law.

While state laws differ, a legal heir is typically someone who is a blood relation of the deceased.

Lawful heirs typically include:

  • Children of the deceased
  • Grandchildren of the deceased
  • Parents of the deceased
  • Siblings of the deceased
  • The closest living relatives of the deceased (including cousins if no other heirs exist)

It is still important to review the laws of the state where the deceased lived because even non-immediate relatives of the deceased, such as cousins, may be considered legal heirs if no immediate relatives exist.

If the deceased has legal heirs according to state law, those heirs should be contacted.

Even if the deceased had no legal heirs, state law still typically requires that a notice of death (also called a notice of appointment or notice to creditors) be published in a local newspaper where the deceased lived.

This notice will inform people when the deceased died, who has been appointed executor or administrator, and who to contact if they have an interest in the estate.

State law determines how long individuals have to contact the executor or administrator after the notice is published (usually 3-6 months).


If the deceased has heirs:

Contact any heirs of the deceased and notify them who has been appointed executor or administrator. If the deceased had a will, contact the heirs named in the will.

If the deceased did not have a will, or the will does not identify heirs, they will be determined by state law.

While state laws differ, a legal heir is typically someone who is a blood relation of the deceased.

Lawful heirs typically include:

  • Children of the deceased
  • Grandchildren of the deceased
  • Parents of the deceased
  • Siblings of the deceased
  • The closest living relatives of the deceased (including cousins if no other heirs exist)
If the deceased does not have heirs:

It is still important to review the laws of the state where the deceased lived because even non-immediate relatives of the deceased, such as cousins, may be considered legal heirs if no immediate relatives exist.

If the deceased has legal heirs according to state law, those heirs should be contacted.

Even if the deceased had no legal heirs, state law still typically requires that a notice of death (also called a notice of appointment or notice to creditors) be published in a local newspaper where the deceased lived.

This notice will inform people when the deceased died, who has been appointed executor or administrator, and who to contact if they have an interest in the estate.

State law determines how long individuals have to contact the executor or administrator after the notice is published (usually 3-6 months).


Did the deceased have debts?


They will need to be paid as part of the probate process.

You may be able to stop or cancel recurring services to reduce the amount of money the estate will owe.

Exclamation_Icon.svgImportant Do not pay these debts or bills yourself. Let the executor or administrator of the estate know about any of these debts or bills so that they can be paid out of estate funds.

Guides_Icon.svgRead More For more information on paying bills, see the “Pay the Estate’s Bills and Debts" section of the Guide.


Thoroughly review the deceased’s accounts, because it is likely they had some bills or debt.

For example, even funeral and medical expenses are considered a bill or debt of the deceased.

Most individuals, regardless of age, incur at least funeral, cremation, or memorial debt as a result of passing.

Exclamation_Icon.svgImportant Even if the deceased had no bills or debts, state law still typically requires that a notice of death (also called a notice of appointment or notice to creditors) be published in a local newspaper where the deceased lived.

This notice will inform people when the deceased died, who has been appointed executor or administrator, and who to contact if they have an interest in the estate.

State law determines how long individuals have to contact the executor or administrator after the notice is published (usually 3-6 months).


If deceased had debts or bills:

They will need to be paid as part of the probate process.

You may be able to stop or cancel recurring services to reduce the amount of money the estate will owe.

Exclamation_Icon.svgImportant Do not pay these debts or bills yourself. Let the executor or administrator of the estate know about any of these debts or bills so that they can be paid out of estate funds.

Guides_Icon.svgRead More For more information on paying bills, see the “Pay the Estate’s Bills and Debts" section of the Guide.

If the deceased did not have debts or bills:

Thoroughly review the deceased’s accounts, because it is likely they had some bills or debt.

For example, even funeral and medical expenses are considered a bill or debt of the deceased.

Most individuals, regardless of age, incur at least funeral, cremation, or memorial debt as a result of passing.

Exclamation_Icon.svgImportant Even if the deceased had no bills or debts, state law still typically requires that a notice of death (also called a notice of appointment or notice to creditors) be published in a local newspaper where the deceased lived.

This notice will inform people when the deceased died, who has been appointed executor or administrator, and who to contact if they have an interest in the estate.

State law determines how long individuals have to contact the executor or administrator after the notice is published (usually 3-6 months).

Providers to Contact


Probate Attorneys Near You

Probate attorneys help settle a deceased person’s estate. They can help you notify persons of interest that a petition for probate has been submitted to probate court.

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