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.



Role of a Petition for Instructions in Los Angeles Probate

Petition for Instructions

When a Los Angeles probate executor or trustee of a trust is uncertain about an action, he or she files a petition for instructions in court to determine the best course of action.

There are many times where the executor cannot determine what the be course of action would be with respect to a certain issue.

Some examples of a matters which may require instructions are:

  1. Whether the trustee or executor should sell the house when there beneficiaries all do not get along.
  2. Another example may be instructions as to whether a beneficiary should be able to live in the decedent’s home during trust administration or probate administration.
  3.  Other times, the instructions sought may involve matters where the trustee or executor is also a beneficiary.   Where there is a potential for conflict, the trustee or executor can inform the court of the potential for conflict and ask whether he or she can act as to that matter

Function of a Petition for instructions

The function of the Petition for Instructions is several fold:

A.  The instruction by the court when followed by the trustee, relieves the trustee of liability with respect to that specific issue.

B.   The Petition for Instruction serves as a tool to bring beneficiaries to court and to give them notice of what the trustee or executor wants to do, so there is transparency in the actions  of the trustee or executor.

C.   The Petition is also used to create clarity for all fiduciaries and beneficiaries involved in the case as to the contents of the petition.

What to do when you receive a Petition for Instruction in the mail?

To find out what you should do if you have been served with a petition for instructions filed by a trustee or executor, call Mina Sirkin, Specialist in Trust and Probate in Los Angeles California at 818-340-4479 or Email:   Find us at