Where to Publish

November 30, 2015 § 4 Comments

Sometimes you just have to publish. It may be to complete service of process, or it may be notice to creditors in an estate, or it may be notice of a foreclosure sale. How and where do you publish notice?

Of course, when in doubt, read the rule or statute that applies. But that’s an overly-optimistic view. Some of you will stubbornly soldier on doing some of the most absurd things, like the attorney in a Lauderdale County guardianship recently who published process to the purported father in a Warren County newspaper because that was the man’s last-known county of residence. While that sounds a nice due-process tone, it just doesn’t meet the requirements of MRCP 4. So here are a few pointers:

Service of Process. Everything you need to know about publication process is in MRCP 4(c)(4). Subsection (B) of that rule requires that the publication be made “once each week during three successive weeks” in a newspaper of the county in which the pleading, account, or other proceeding is pending if there is such a newspaper. If there is no such newspaper, then you must post your notice on the courthouse door of the county, and publish it in the newspaper of an adjoining county or in a Jackson newspaper. I believe that the term “newspaper of the county” means one published in the county. That would be consistent with statutes requiring publication, and is the only common-sense interpretation at which I can arrive.

Remember that the courts strictly interpret the process rules. Close does not get you the cigar. You must strictly comply with the rules. There are many pitfalls awaiting those who try to slop through without attention to strict compliance, as I have posted about here before.

Notice to Creditors. MCA 91-7-145 requires that notice to creditors of an estate shall be made in “some newspaper in the county.” This publication requirement also applies in guardianships and conservatorships, per MCA  93-13-38(1). Section 91-7-145 goes on to say that “If a paper be not published in the county, notice by posting at the courthouse door and three (3) other places of public resort in the county shall suffice,” and you must file an affidavit attesting to the posting.

Before you publish, you must file an affidavit of the fiduciary that he or she has made a reasonably diligent effort to identify and give notice to persons who may have claims against the estate. Failure to file the affidavit before publication voids the publication.

Foreclosure. MCA 89-1-55 requires that a foreclosure sale be advertised for three consecutive weeks “in a newspaper published in the county, or, if none is so published, in some paper having a general circulation therein,” and by posting the notice at the courthouse. The statute specifies that the land must be sold in the county where it is located, or the county of the residence of the one of the grantors, or, where the property is situated in more than one county, where the parties have contracted for the sale. Where a city extends into more than one county, a newspaper published in the city is deemed to be published in all the counties into which the city extends. Warren v. Johnston, 908 So.2d 744, 748-49 (Miss. 2005).

SOME THINGS YOU MAY NOT KNOW ABOUT GUARDIANSHIPS

November 10, 2010 § 2 Comments

Here are some things you may not already know about guardianships.  Some of them have teeth that can draw blood if they catch you unawares …

  • MCA § 93-13-38, provides that “All the provisions of the law on the subject of executors and administrators, relating to settlement or disposition of property limitations, notice to creditors, probate and registration of claims, proceedings to insolvency and distribution of assets of insolvent estates, shall, as far as applicable and not otherwise provided, be observed and enforced in all guardianships.”
  • MCA § 93-13-33, requires that the guardian return an inventory within three months of the appointment, and states:  “Any guardian who shall fail to return inventories may be removed and his bond be put in suit, unless he can show cause for the default.”
  • When closing out a guardianship, the requirements of MCA § 93-13-77, must be satisfied.  That section requires that a final accounting filed, and that the ward be summoned and given notice to be and appear before the court on a day not less than one month after the date that the summons is served or after completion of publication, to show cause why the accounting should not be approved.  The accounting can not be approved earlier than one month after completion of process.  All the requirements to close a guardianship are here.
  • When a guardian has more than one ward, each ward’s business must be accounted for separately.  MCA § 93-13-69.
  • A child 14 or older has a statutory right to choose his or her guardian.  If the ward is over 14, you should have the child join in the petition.
  • Guardianship of a minor ceases by operation of law at age 21, and, in the discretion of the Chancellor, at age 18.  The guardianship may also be terminated by order of the court at any time that the estate has a value less than $2,000 and no further funds or property are anticipated to come into the guardian’s hands.  MCA § 93-13-75.
  • Any claim for a guardian’s fee must include the information required in Uniform Chancery Court Rule 6.11.
  • A “solicitor’s fee” (MCA § 93-13-79) may be allowed for the attorney, and the claim for it must be supported by an itemized statement of services rendered in the same form as that required for the guardian’s fee, plus the information required in Rule 6.12 of the Uniform Chancery Court Rules.    

CHECKLIST FOR CLOSING AN ESTATE

September 27, 2010 § 20 Comments

  • _____ Judgment opening the estate or admitting will to probate is filed, and there is no contest.
  • _____ Oath of Executor/Administrator filed. 
  • _____ The Executor/Administrator has properly filed his or her bond, or it was waived by the will or by sworn petition of all heirs with entry of a court order authorizing the waiver.
  • _____ Letters Testamentary or of Administration issued.
  • _____ The affidavit of known creditors required by MCA § 91-7-145 was properly executed by the Executor/Administrator and filed before publication to creditors.
  • _____ Publication of Notice to Creditors was made in “some newspaper in the county” that meets the criteria in MCA § 13-3-31, for three consecutive weeks, and it has been more than ninety days since the first publication.
  • _____ Inventory and appraisement were done and timely filed, or were waived by the will or by all heirs by sworn petition with order so waiving.
  • _____ All accountings were timely filed and approved by court order (other than the final accounting, which is now before the court), or waived by the will or excused by the court.
  • _____ In the case of an administration, publication for unknown heirs has been completed, and a judgment determining heirs has been presented, or will be presented in advance of presenting the final accounting.
  • _____ All interested parties to this estate have been served with the petition to close and all other closing documents, including the final account, and they have joined in the petition or have been duly served with a Rule 81 summons, and there is a proper return or properly executed waiver or joinder for each interested party.
  • _____ All probated claims have been paid, and evidence of such payment is in the court file, or the probated claims will be paid in the course of closing the estate, and a final report will be filed evidencing payment.
  • _____ The attorney’s fees and expenses, as well as those of the Executor/Administrator have been disclosed to all interested persons, and they have no objection.

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