What is a legal notice?

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Diane Sieker photo

When starting a new business, changing a legal name, disposing of an estate or even holding an election, published legal notices are required by law. For decades, it has been the preferred method of alerting the public to things occurring in the community.

For instance, state law requires that the public must be made aware of the name of a new business. This notice is accomplished by publishing a copy of the fictitious name statement in a newspaper of general circulation in the county in which the principal place of business is located.

Not every newspaper is allowed to accept these notices. Riverside County provides a list of approved newspapers as a courtesy to those who are required to cause publication of legal advertising. The list represents all of the adjudicated newspapers currently in publication

within the county. The county neither endorses nor recommends any publication service.

Since its name starts with the letter “A,” the Anza Valley Outlook appears first on the list of approved newspapers of general circulation for legal advertising in Riverside County.

“Filing a legal notice by publication is as simple and easy as 1, 2, 3,” Aguanga resident David Schulberg said.

One of the most common postings are fictitious name statements.

According to the county, when a fictitious business name statement is filed, it must be published in an adjudicated newspaper one day per week for four consecutive weeks. Publication must start within 30 days of filing the statement with the county clerk’s office.

To save business owners a trip to the county clerk’s office, many newspapers in Riverside County will file a fictitious statement for them.

Carletta Gordon-Stokes, owner of CGS Real Estate, said, “When I created my business, the county recorder gave me a form and a list of newspapers to choose from for publication. I called one, placed my fictitious name posting, paid for the ads and that was it.”

The newspaper selected for the publication of the statement should be one that circulates in the area where the business is to be conducted.

“Once I located a paper that did that sort of thing, it was a pretty simple process,” Sharon Evans, owner of Cadillac Ranch Real Estate, said. “It’s been so long since I have run a legal notice, I should check on when those fictitious name statements expire so they get renewed on time.”

Public notices are also used to inform the public of government spending, projects and the development of new policies. It allows citizens to be properly and adequately informed and, in many cases, to be able to take part in the events publicized.

Change of name and other legal events also require publishing the information in a newspaper of general circulation.

Legal advertising is available in the Anza Valley Outlook for Riverside County. Call 951-763-5510 for more information.

Diane Sieker can be reached by email at dsieker@reedermedia.com.