Legal Question in Wills and Trusts in California

Getting Information from the Executor of Estate

My sister has applied for Executor of Estate for my deceased Father; prior to his death, she was the Conservator. Now I see there is a Petition for Probate of Lost Will. She is not being forthcoming with information about the proceedings of the Probate process with the other 5 beneficiaries. I haven't been successful in obtaining a copy of the will, (now I hear it is a lost will), and I know I can file for Special Notice, but how can I get information about this case without her attorney or herself knowing about it. This is a very sensitive family subject, but we all would like to be more informed as to what is going on, as she had a nervous breakdown at the time of death, and we fear things are not being handled in the best interest of all parties. Do I need to get my own attorney to help me get information, or are there resources available to me. We are all concerned. I have accessed the case proceedings on the Internet, but it is all very legal jargon, and just makes me have more questions. I need an interpretor or somebody to help me understand what I am reading. Any advice would be appreciated.

Asked on 11/16/04, 8:55 pm

4 Answers from Attorneys

Ken Koenen Koenen & Tokunaga, P.C.

Re: Getting Information from the Executor of Estate

You can go to the superior court where the probate matter is being handled, and request to look at the file.

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Answered on 11/18/04, 6:47 pm


Re: Getting Information from the Executor of Estate

Going to the Court files may help, but under California law all heirs have to receive notice of all filings and hearings before the Court. If she isn't following that procedure you can always petition the Court to have her removed and substitute another party.

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Answered on 11/18/04, 7:40 pm
Michael Olden Law Offices of Michael A. Olden

Re: Getting Information from the Executor of Estate

Of course you have many more questions than answers. You never went to law school and you probably have never been in a courtroom let alone a probate courtroom. You have that the first idea of what to do and therefore giving you instructions is superfluous. Go out and find an attorney who has years of experience in estate planning/probate. Who has been in the probate courts in the area in which you reside, know the area in which your mother resided before she passed away. Your sister has a great wake up on all of you as she was her conservative or butt, if she filed yearly accountings or at least biannual he accountings as required by the court hopefully she is not defrauded your mother as well as your siblings. I cannot advise you strongly enough get off your chair, make an appointment with an attorney and tell him/her exactly what the facts are so she/he can protect you and possibly you or other siblings. In fact, and together it will be cheaper for all of you if you pay one bill and have one attorney.I have been practicing law in the San Francisco Bay area for approximately 35 years and expert in the area in the category in which your question is placed. I feel I can help you in this matter and if you wish to consult with me please contact me at 925-945- 6000.

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Answered on 11/24/04, 9:00 pm
Donald Field Donald L. Field, Jr., Attorney at Law

Re: Getting Information from the Executor of Estate

Reviewing the court file is the best place to start obtaining additional information without necessarily alerting the executor. If there are substantial assets in the estate you should consider consulting an attorney who can advise whether or not immediate action is recommended.

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Answered on 11/19/04, 11:29 am

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