MCLE SELF-STUDY ARTICLE TIPS OF THE TRADE: WHY OVER-NOTICE? BECAUSE DUE PROCESS MIGHT DEMAND IT.
Written by David Y. Parnall, Esq.*
As children, many of us naively believed that certainty and consistency exist in life. Gold is at Fort Knox; all police officers are good; the transition of presidential power is unassailable; and the Constitution contains algebraic formulas that can calculate a precise result. But then we grew up. Turns out the gold is not actually at Fort Knox.1 Police are humans. Election falsehoods can be peddled wholesale. And the concepts embodied by the Constitution, instead of being like math equations, are decidedly mutable, flexible, and uncertain.
For a subset of us, though, the Constitution does provide a glimpse of certainty into something way more exciting than gold heists or SWAT teams: calculating notice. Or as some might say, over-notice. More cautious trusts and estates practitioners use this calibration when faced with the problem of "how many people should be told about what our clients are doing?" Should the step-grandchild of the decedent be on the service list? Should I send the non-beneficiary nephew the trustee’s letter outlining the sale of the aunt’s home? What about letting the great-uncle’s, son’s mechanic know about the trust petition just filed? What pushes us to invite potential trouble by saying "yes," if the answer might well be "no?"