If You Receive an Information Notice About an Estate Do You Have to Respond?

After someone dies, you may get a citation or a notice from an attorney or other party informing you of the death. The communication may include other information such as who is named the executor, personal representative or administrator.

Attached to the communication are copies of Probate or Surrogate's Court forms that are routinely sent to persons who have, or may have, some interest in the estate. This communication is required to be sent to all potential heirs of the estate and beneficiaries named in the will.


Receipt of such notice or citation does not mean that you will receive an inheritance from the deceased. It merely provides official notice that an estate has been opened.

The attached court forms in an estate notice come from the court where the decedent had domicile. Even if a person has more than one residence, there is only one domicile. It is determined by factors including the address on a driver's license, tax forms filed with the IRS, and the location where important mail was delivered.

An estate notice contains a case number and may also contain a date when there will be a court hearing. It also provides the name and contact information for the court where papers relating to the estate are on file.

What should you do if you receive such a communication? Are you required to reply or go to court? In general, no. You don't have to act unless you object to what is in the notice or citation.

For example, let's say you are interested in contesting the will. Or you believe there is legal cause to have the executor, personal representative, or administrator removed. Legal cause may include fraud, incapacitation of the decedent, undue influence or a will not being properly executed. You should contact your attorney about how to proceed. You may have a case and can go to court and submit objections.

If you receive a notice or citation, and want additional information about the estate, you can obtain it from the court records, the personal representative/ executor, or the attorney listed.

Note: If you receive a communication from an attorney or court requesting a signature, consult with your attorney to discuss what the document entails. You want to ensure you are not signing away rights.

Notices or citations sent to children and incapacitated adults are generally sent through their legal guardians. If they do not have a legal guardian, the court may appoint a guardian ad litem for this proceeding.

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