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Agoura Hills Estate Planning, Probate & Trust Attorneys

I'm a Trustee? What happens if I don't send a §16061.7 notice?

Providing Peace of Mind One Estate Plan at A Time

If the Trustee of a California Trust fails to send the required Notification by Trustee (also called a California Probate Code §16061.7 Notice), or fails to properly serve the Notice on its intended recipients, then the normal 120-day statute of limitations for Trust contests does NOT run.

Instead, potential claimants might have years (and not just 120-days under the statute) to file a lawsuit contesting the validity of the Trust.

This could place the Trustee (who owes a fiduciary obligation to the Beneficiaries) in a tight spot. Trustees typically don't like to distribute Trust funds to the Beneficiaries unless the Trustee can be reasonably assured he or she won't need the money to defend a lawsuit, or pay creditors, taxes, legal fees, etc. But eventually the Beneficiaries will demand their inheritance.


In our law practice we recommend that the Trustee "over-notify" the interested parties. In other words, send the §116061.7 Notice. Sooner rather than later.

  • If there is a question about entitlement to notice (for example, if the Trustee isn't sure that a potential heir is actually related to the decedent), we usually recommend the Trustee still send the Notice.
  • If the Trustee doesn't know which address to mail the notice to (for example, if a Beneficiary recently moved), we usually recommend mailing it to both addresses.

Better to "over-notify" than to have a potential liability hanging over the Trust for years to come. Besides, if there is going to be a lawsuit, better to deal with it now, than be caught off guard after the Trustee distributes all the money to the Beneficiaries.

What next?

Did you receive a §16061.7 Notice, and you're not sure what to do with it? Call us (818.707.8200) for a consultation.

[For information only. May NOT be relied upon as legal advice.]