Thursday, May 14, 2015


(a) Upon commencement of a formal testacy proceeding, the court shall fix a time and place of hearing. Notice shall be given in the manner prescribed by Section 1-401 by the petitioner to the persons herein enumerated and to any additional person who has filed a demand for notice under Section 3-204 of this [code].
Notice shall be given to the following persons: the surviving spouse, children, and other heirs of the decedent, the devisees and executors named in any will that is being, or has been, probated, or offered for informal or formal probate in the [county], or that is known by the petitioner to have been probated, or offered for informal or formal probate elsewhere, and any personal representative of the decedent whose appointment has not been terminated. Notice may be given to other persons.
In addition, the petitioner shall give notice by publication to all unknown persons and to all known persons whose addresses are unknown who have any interest in the matters being
(b) If it appears by the petition or otherwise that the fact of the death of the alleged
decedent may be in doubt, or on the written demand of any interested person, a copy of the notice of the hearing on said petition shall be sent by registered mail to the alleged decedent at his last known address. The court shall direct the petitioner to report the results of, or make and report back concerning, a reasonably diligent search for the alleged decedent in any manner that may seem advisable, including any or all of the following methods:
(1) by inserting in one or more suitable periodicals a notice requesting information from any person having knowledge of the whereabouts of the alleged decedent;
(2) by notifying law enforcement officials and public welfare agencies in appropriate locations of the disappearance of the alleged decedent;
(3) by engaging the services of an investigator.
The costs of any search so directed shall be paid by the petitioner if there is no
administration or by the estate of the decedent in case there is administration.
Provisions governing the time and manner of notice required by this section and other sections in the Code are contained in Section 1-401.
The provisions concerning search for the alleged decedent are derived from Model Probate Code (1946), Section 71.
Testacy proceedings involve adjudications that no will exists. Unknown wills as well as any which are brought to the attention of the court are affected. Persons with potential interests under unknown wills have the notice afforded by death and by publication. Notice requirements extend also to persons named in a will that is known to the petitioners to exist, irrespective of whether it has been probated or offered for formal or informal probate, if their position may be affected adversely by granting of the petition. But, a rigid statutory requirement relating to such persons might cause undue difficulty. Hence, the statute merely provides that the petitioner may notify other persons.
It would not be inconsistent with this section for the court to adopt rules designed to
make petitioners exercise reasonable diligence in searching for as yet undiscovered wills.

Section 3-106 provides that an order is valid as to those given notice, though less than all interested persons were given notice. Section 3-1001(b) provides a means of extending a testacy order to previously unnotified persons in connection with a formal closing.

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