If you’re a personal representative of someone who has passed away, it’s your responsibility to notify all sorts of creditors that probate has begun. That means informing doctors, credit card companies, phone companies, utility companies and even a relative that may have loaned the decedent money when they were alive. If someone may possibly be owed money, you need to let them know about the probate process.
California Form DE-157
In California, to let creditors know that probate began, the personal representative fills out a Notice of Administration to Creditors. This is also known as a Form DE-157, Judicial Counsel. On the back of Form DE-157, you’ll need to write the name and address of every known or potential creditor. If down the road you figure out that a creditor was missed, you can send them a copy of the form, but you also have to use a new form that will show the accurate mailing date.
You’re not allowed to mail the form yourself. You’ll need to actually ask someone else to do the actual mailing for you. Plus, you have to have the person who mailed it for you complete and sign the Proof of Service by Mail on the reverse side of the form. It might seem complicated, but it’s fairly simple. There a lot in probate that is complicated, but the specifics of Form DE-157 isn’t so bad.
Finally, you have to mail the creditor a photocopy of the signed Notice of Administration to Creditors form. When you do, you’ll also send them a copy of a blank Creditor’s Claim form (Form DE-172) that they can use to submit their claim against the estate.
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