How Long After a Person Dies Will Beneficiaries Be Notified?

How long after a person dies will it take for beneficiaries to be notified depends, in part, on the estate planning that the deceased person did. If you are the beneficiary of a trust, you are supposed to be notified within 60 days of the death of the trustmaker. If you are the beneficiary of a will or intestate estate, you are supposed to be notified at least 15 days before the initial probate court hearing date.

If the deceased person created a trust during their lifetime to pass on their assets upon their death, California Probate Code 16061.7 requires the trustee to send a notice to all trust beneficiaries and heirs within 60 days of the death. 

However, the timeline for notifying beneficiaries of their inheritance outside of a trust is more variable. This is because the deadlines are calculated based on when a petition for administration of the estate is filed rather than when the person passes away. 

Under California Probate Code 8000, an interested party can file a petition for administration of the estate at any time after the decedent’s death. A hearing will then be set for up to 45 days after the petition is filed. 

At least 15 days before the hearing date, the petitioner must provide notice to the estate’s beneficiaries and heirs. The petitioner must also publish notifications in a newspaper of general circulation in the city where the decedent resided at the time of death or where the decedent’s property is located. 

What Should a Beneficiary Do If They Have Not Been Notified of Their Inheritance?

If you are a beneficiary of a person who has recently passed away and you have not been notified of your inheritance, you should consult with a probate litigation attorney as soon as possible. There may be actions you can take, and if you don’t take action you may lose your ability to protect your rights.  

For instance, if an executor did not notify you about the probate hearing for a will, you may be able to file a will contest and request that the probate court revoke the admission of the will. You can likewise contest the validity of a trust instrument in certain circumstances. A probate litigation attorney will be able to assist you in determining whether you have legal grounds to challenge a will or trust and walk you through the next best steps to help you protect yourself.

Another possible action is to file a Probate Code § 11700 petition to determine distribution rights. As an heir or beneficiary, you would have the right to file a petition to ask the court to determine who is entitled to receive a distribution of the deceased person’s property under the will or California intestate succession laws.

With any of these issues, it’s incredibly important to contact an experienced probate litigation lawyer as soon as possible. The California Probate Code is complicated and includes various deadlines and restrictions on when challenges can be made. This means that not only could any delay allow others to cause irreparable damage to the estate, but waiting to act could also result in you missing your opportunity to protect yourself. For this reason, it’s vital to speak with a probate lawyer and determine a course of action sooner rather than later. 

Have questions? We’re happy to discuss.
Call (424) 320-9444 or email [email protected]

Read More
Can You Fight a Trust in Court?
How to Divide Inherited Property Between Siblings
What Is Considered Property for Someone Who Died?
What To Do If an Executor Is Not Communicating With Beneficiaries?

About RMO, LLP

RMO LLP provides personal and efficient inheritance dispute services to individual and institutional clients. The firm’s attorneys focus on probate litigation involving contested trust, estate, probate, and conservatorship matters. Serving California and Texas, with offices in Los Angeles, Pasadena, Orange County, San Diego, Fresno, the Bay Area, Dallas, and Houston. For more information, please visit

Share on:

Most Popular

Search Topics

Read More

About the Author

Scott Rahn, Founding Partner

Scott Rahn resolves contests, disputes and litigation related to trusts, estates and conservatorships, creating a welcome peace of mind for clients. He represents heirs, beneficiaries, trustees and executors. He utilizes his experience to develop and implement strategies that swiftly and efficiently address the financial issues, fiduciary duties and emotional complexities underlying trust contests, estates conflicts and probate litigation.

Related Articles