Publication Requirements for California Probates

The publication requirement for notices of hearing for petitions for probate presents several questions for the probate attorney; in particular, issues of timing, location, and the Judicial Council Form DE-121: Notice of Petition to Administer Estate.

The use of the DE-121 (the “Notice”) is mandatory. It must accompany the petition for probate in California. The Notice is the official public announcement that a petition for probate is being filed for a particular decedent. The Notice provides the court location, the date and time of the hearing, and the name of the proposed personal representative, as well as contact information for the law firm representing the proposed personal representative.

The Notice gets mailed to all those persons entitled to service of the petition for probate, but it also must be published in a newspaper, to generally inform the public and other interested parties (and creditors) who might not receive the mailed notice. The rules for publication are found at California Probate Code § 8121.

You can’t publish the Notice in just any newspaper. It has to be a newspaper of general circulation in the city where the Decedent lived at the time of his or her death. Usually, California courts in each county will provide a list of acceptable newspapers.

After publication occurs, a Proof of Publication must be filed with the court.

As with all matters relating to probate estates, find a competent probate attorney to assist you with the process. Not doing so can cause unnecessary expense and delay.