Audit and Control a California Executor in Probate

Observing your California executor is often the best thing you can do as a beneficiary or heir of a probate estate, auditing and monitoring the activities of the executor to maintain control of the administration of the estate.  Most people do not realize that the ultimate distribution of an estate is completely dependent on monitoring the well-being, organization and the loyalty of the executor of the will.  How do these variables play into the receipt of your inheritance?  Seeing what your executor does is the way to protect the value of your inheritance if your inheritance is located in California or if you have a California estate.

The Health and Well-Being of Your Executor Counts

Essentially, if you are in a probate case or if you are a California heir, and the estate is being managed by an existing executor, your executor’s health governs the day-to-day operation and the management of the estate assets.  If your executor falls ill or becomes incapacitated, the estate may incur losses by the passage of time.

A property may not be viewed, squatters may move in, rent may not be collected, and damage may occur due to the negligence of the executor who does not attend to the property of the estate.   The passage of time does not favor the interests of the beneficiary who waits too long to examine the actions of an executor.  Our monitoring attorneys will help you supervise the actions of the executors who are managing and operating estate in which you are a beneficiary.   Ask our Los Angeles attorneys about how we can help you keep your California executor in check.   Locate us at Sirkin Law Group to discuss your California Probate.

The Level of Organization of Your California Executor is Important

An organized executor can easily account for the assets of the estate and respond to questions by the heirs and beneficiaries of an estate.  Organization means that there are folders corresponding to categories of information necessary to complete an accounting in a probate estate, and that there are receipts for every expense incurred by the executor for the benefit of the estate.   No receipts mean delays in probate court in getting the accounting approved.   Accurate receipts create trust between the executor and the heirs or beneficiaries.   When we represent executors, we assist the executor to set up books and records and maintain those records so that we can promptly account to the court on the court’s timeline.   Keeping track of probate deadlines is one way of testing the level of organization of your California executor.   Ask our Los Angeles lawyers about how we can assist you in asking questions of the executor involved in your case when you are a beneficiary of an estate or trust.

If you are not in California or in the immediate area of the probate property, you cannot observe the executor’s activities with respect to the real property.   Property maintenance requires vigilance when it involves an estate.   We can help you obtain the right tools to make inquiries about the property’s condition and maintenance.

The Loyalty of Your Executor in California is Mandatory

The first duty owed by a California fiduciary is the duty of loyalty.  Your executor is a fiduciary to each of the heirs and beneficiaries of the estate or trust.  Without loyalty, the executor may misuse the assets of the trust or estate and leave the beneficiaries or heirs in the precarious position of having to file petitions and pleadings in court to determine and test the accuracy of information reporting by the fiduciary.   Abuse of an executor’s powers can come in many flavors, one of which is self-dealing.  An executor who self-deals is disloyal unless the will has specifically allowed him to engage in self-dealing.   Transactions which call for a special benefit to the executor should be questioned and monitored.   An executor who is a beneficiary must be more careful not to benefit himself more than the other beneficiaries, as he must treat all heirs equally unless the will provides otherwise.   A Petition for Instructions in California can resolve many questions, by allowing the court to tell the executor how to behave in a particular set of circumstances.   We counsel fiduciaries, executors, heirs and beneficiaries of estates in questioning, monitoring and seeking instructions from the court regarding the actions of executors.

Mina Sirkin is an experienced attorney in Los Angeles who monitors California executors for out-of-state beneficiaries.  She regularly speaks about estates, trusts and incapacity in California.   Contact our friendly staff at 818.340.4479 for a free consultation call or email us at

Copyright 2020 Mina Sirkin

California Executor of Estate Mishaps To be Avoided

Good Rules for an Executor of Estate and Will

Many times when a person is nominated as an executor of an estate in a will, he or she does not know of the potential for mishaps.  Errors of executors of estate range from errors in judgment, namely negligence, to intentional acts which may damage the value of the estate and ultimately what the heirs would potentially inherit.

What is considered an error by an executor?

In summary, anytime an executor’s action leads to a loss in the estate, his action may be deemed an error.   In California, when an executor of a probate estate is not sure about his duty, he may petition the court for instruction to avoid such mishaps.

Losses can occur in an estate as follows:

  1. Mixing up the assets  of the estate with your personal assets.
  2. Staying in the property rent-free.
  3.  Letting someone else stay in the property rent-free.
  4.  Not investing estate assets in interest-bearing accounts.
  5.  Taking on risky investments in the estate.
  6.  Personally profit from an asset of the estate, or a transaction of the estate.
  7.  Having a side deal with an agent to receive a kick back.
  8.  Failing to inventory all assets of the estate.
  9.  Failing to adequately bond the estate, when there is no bond waiver.
  10.  Failing to put an asset in blocked accounts when the probate court requires it.
  11.  Not keeping records of the assets and expenses of the estate, or failing to keep the records in a way that can substantiate an accounting.


When there are questions about duties of the executor of a will, the executor may submit a petition for instructions to the court asking the court to decide on the action before the executor makes a decision.   This prevents losses and later litigation over the action by the executor of the estate.  a Petition for Instructions is a fairly easy fix for many issues that arise from actions of executors.

If you are named as an executor of a will or estate, you should be careful not to make the above mistakes.   If you are unsure about an action, it is very simple to ask the court to instruct you.

Call Estate Attorney, Mina Sirkin, Specialist California Attorney for advice for a California executor of an estate.  818.340.4479 or Email.