In a previous post, we discussed the Personal Representative’s duty to inform by issuing the Information to Heirs and Devisees. This is a state prescribed form, 305ES. Today, we will look at this form from the recipient’s perspective.
The Difference Between Heirs vs Devisees
This form is sent to both the heirs and the devisees of the decedent’s estate. The heirs are beneficiaries who are entitled to inheritance if the decedent died without a will. Intestacy statutes determine exact inheritance for heirs.
Devisees are those individuals named in the decedent’s Will. Devisees do not need to be related to the decedent in order to receive property.
If you have received one of these forms, you fall into one of these groups. However, receipt of this form does not guarantee you will inherit from the estate.
When Heirs Are Devisees
In some cases, the heirs and devisees overlap significantly. For example, the deceased may have a surviving spouse and children. Their Will divides the estate between the spouse and children. In this case, all the heirs are also the devisees. If the decedent died intestate, or without a Will, then there will be no devisees, and only the heirs at law will receive the form.
What Happens When You Receive the Information to Heirs and Devisees
Again, this doesn’t necessarily mean that you will receive anything from the estate. The function of this form is to notify these groups of potential recipients that an estate has been opened and where it has been opened. It also lists the name and contact information for the appointed Personal Representative.
Once you receive the form you should consider yourself on notice and take any steps necessary to protect your interest in the estate. This is not the time to “sit and wait” as many actions must be filed within six (6) months from the date the Personal Representative was appointed.
Ultimately, whether you receive anything from the estate depends not only on the terms of the Will, whether or not you are an heir or devisee, the outcome of any litigation and any creditor’s claims. If you’ve received one of these notices, it’s wise to schedule a consult with an attorney who handles these issues so you can be aware of your rights.