What is a Waiver Of Notice

A waiver of notice is a document individuals sign which legally waives their rights to receive formal notices regarding certain probate issues. For example, let's assume a family patriarch named Charley passes away, and that his estate is meant to be distributed among his three children: Michael, Sally, and Melissa, who are his sole heirs. Under normal circumstances, the probate court must issue a public notice regarding proceedings pertaining to the probate of Charley's will. However, if Michael, Sally, and Melissa--all of whom have deeply vested interests in Charley's assets, consent to waivers of notice, an appointed administrator or executor may attend in their places. By sending such representatives in their stead, courts can accelerate the the probate process, thus benefitting Charley's heirs by ultimately allowing them to receive their inheritances faster, as a result.

Key Takeways

  • A waiver of notice is a document an individual signs that allows probate courts to proceed with will hearings in their absence.
  • Waiver of notice are helpful in expediting the process, while cutting down on the often costly administrative court fees.
  • These legal documents are often used in corporate settings, by letting boards of directors congress, without all members present.

Simply put: a waiver of notice can be a massive timesaver for all relevant interested parties. But it should be made clear that a wavier of notice does not affect an individual's right to information. Rather, it simply means they may be excluded from prior notices, about certain iterative steps in the probate process.

Breaking Down Waiver Of Notice

Probate courts mainly deal with vital and sensitive issues such as wills, estates and trusts. For this reason, generally speaking, interested parties are entitled to receive adequate notice about any probate hearings. But waivers of notice allow a representative to attend, which can save both time and money in proceedings that would normally subject heirs to lengthy waits and high legal fees.

There are potential downsides to waivers of notice. Namely, by signing one, it will be difficult for an heir to later contest the estate by challenging the validity of a will or choice of executor. In the probate process, a hearing is required to make these challenges.

Waiver of Notice for Corporate Purposes

Waivers of notice don't solely apply to the process of probating a will. These legal documents can also be useful when a corporate board of directors or similar governing group needs to hold an emergency meeting. The notice allows them to do so, even if every board member isn't available to attend at a moment's notice. But more importantly, a notice provides an assurance that the proceedings of a meeting where notice is waived will be considered legal and valid if it is later challenged. In these cases, corporate attorneys recommend all directors sign a waiver of notice ahead of the meeting or a waiver of notice for future meetings. Copies of the signed waivers should be attached as evidence to the minutes of the meeting in question.

Important: For heirs who naturally wish to keep a close watch on probate cases, a waiver of notice may work against them, and they should opt against signing one.]