Can you get the estate as a domestic partner in California when your partner dies?

Guest Post: Probate Help

If you have been registered as domestic partners in California, and your partner dies without a will, California gives you certain estate and inheritance rights under the Probate Code.

Check to see if you waived any of your rights in a domestic partnership agreement.  If the rights were not waived by agreement, then the Probate Code has some defaults.

As a registered domestic partner, you are deemed to have the same rights as spouses in California under the Probate Code.  Those rights can include the right to be appointed as an administrator of the probate estate.

If your domestic partner is living, but is incapacitated, you also have the right to become his or her conservator.

If your domestic partner is being unduly influenced by his or her family members to leave you out, call Mina Sirkin, Probate Specialist Attorney in Los Angeles County, California at 818-340-4479.

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Can’t get bonded in Probate in California?


If you can’t get bonded in probate in California for any reason, you need to call us for help.    Here are some of the questions which bond companies or sureties ask you to determine if you are bondable or a good risk for a probate bond:

  1.  The person applying for a bond is not employed.
  2.  The person applying for a probate bond has bad credit.
  3.  The person completing the probate bond application has had a prior bankruptcy.
  4.  The person who wants to become the administrator does not have sufficient assets covering the bond.
  5.   The person who want the bond has had a prior criminal history.

In California, any estate administrator must be bonded or the assets will be blocked from the administrator.    Sometimes, blocking the assets in a blocked account do not work because there are mortgages which need to be continued to be paid.

Why you should not leave the assets with the probate surety?

Sometimes, the bond company and surety try to rope you in to parking the estate assets with the surety.   First of all, this is not allowed by California law.   California law executor duties DO NOT allow the administrator or executor to put the assets of the estate in possession of anyone else.   The assets MUST be titled in the name of the administrator, as the administrator of the estate of the decedent.   This is a tactic that some sureties use to make their liability non-existent while the collect a full premium from the estate.   In many cases, this is not even logical.   A surety is not in the business of operating estates, and does not have a fiduciary duty regarding the investments of the estate.  It is the administrator that has the risk.   In fact, if there is a theft in the surety’s company, it will be the administrator who will be blamed.  So, in short, don’t do it.

So, how can we help you with Probate Bonds?

We can help you find a professional fiduciary to be the administrator who is fully bondable and insured.  In most cases, the professional fiduciaries are asset managers with many years of experience in probate.   A professional fiduciary is licensed person accepted by the State of California who can act as an executor and administrator.

To talk to us about a bond, or about getting a professional fiduciary, email us at helps individuals and heirs who want to close an estate who are having trouble getting things done, or those who cannot get bonded in California.



Being pressured by an heir finder in California California california heirs heir finders heirs how to handle heir finders private investigator for heirs

Being pressured by an heir finder in California?

Heir finders or heir hunters are companies who locate heirs or potential heirs by pressuring heirs, and promising to recover for them on a contingency percentage basis.   In most cases in California, if the heir goes to an attorney directly, the attorney can match or beat the heir finder’s rates.   Why, because the attorney represents ONLY the interest of the individual heir, and owes no duty of loyalty to the heir finder or heir hunter.

The heir finder on the other hand, represents many people, not all of whom are legitimate heirs.   Therefore, their loyalty is questioned when there are competing heirs.   The heir hunter has no duty of loyalty to the heir.   The attorney has a duty of loyalty to the heir.

When you are approached by people who claim to be heir finders or heir hunters, who promise to get you a lawyer, ask them if you will have an individual attorney, or if you have to share an attorney with other potential heirs.   If the answer is that your attorney will represent more than one person, quickly leave and get your own counsel.

Question from our viewers:   What can I do when an heir finder or private investigator is pushing me to sign and assignment now?  Don’t do it.  Call us and we will either let you know how to do it yourself free of charge, or connect you with reputable people who can help you get your inheritance.

If you need a referral to counsel who will individually represent your interests, and only your interests, contact us at is a service that helps self represented individual recover assets in probate.  Call 213-260-0026 for help in California Probate.

California Executor executor of a probate estate gifts to agents gifts to power of attorney Sued by a Trustee Sued by an Executor

Sued by an executor or trustee in California for a gift you received from an elder or disabled?

If you have received any asset from an elderly or disabled person in California, chances are you are sued or will be sued by an executor or trustee in Ca.    California has one of the most protective laws, protecting the elderly or disabled from friends and family whose actions become self-serving.

If an elderly or disabled person has lost an asset to someone who promised to care for him, there are several chances where the recipient of the asset can get sued:   1) by the owner of the property; 2) by the executor of his estate, if the owner is deceased; 3) by his trustee; and even 4) by his agent under a power of attorney or his conservator.   Any of those people can file an action to recover the assets of the elderly or disabled person under the elder abuse laws, and Probate Code 850 actions.

Gift recipients who do not adequately protect themselves, by contracts prepared by attorneys, and where the elderly or disabled is unrepresented, have the largest risk.     Further, gifts by fiduciaries (agents under power of attorney, trustee, executor, or conservators) of any sort or to fiduciaries or their families are looked at with great disdain by California courts.

How do you fix it?

Before you are sued, have the agreement reduced to a writing were both parties are represented.  Be sure that the consideration is adequate, and that performance is done.

After you are sued, run to mediation and settle the matter to avoid hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal expenses.

With a little creative settlement work, this type of case can be resolved.  Call us for a referral to competent counsel who can assist you.


Attorney-Drafted and Online Wills California California Online Will Online Will California Online Wills Ca

Attorney-Drafted Online Wills California

Attorney-Drafted Online Wills California

When you plan to create a will, one of your options is for a do it yourself will online.  We offer an online and Attorney-Drafted will option with an attorney consultation online.  Here is how we can help you plan for a will in California:

  1.  Email us to set a telephone or online consultation with an estate planning and will attorney online.
  2.  Consult with the will attorney.
  3.  Your document is drafted and uploaded to our secured site.  You have the option of printing it from our site.
  4.  If you prefer, we can mail you the documents to execute.
  5.  Attorney follows up with you after execution.


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Complex Probate

What is a complex probate?

A complex probate is one which requires:

A.   Unusual assets;

B.  Complex legal arguments;

C.   Over a year in gathering the estate assets;

D.    Disputes about beneficiaries and heirs.

E.    Litigation of any type.

For all of the above you should seek counsel and advice.   Contact us for a referral to a competent legal counsel in your area.



California Probate a will in San Fernando Valley

How to probate a will or estate in the San Fernando Valley?

Whether you are in the San Fernando Valley or elsewhere, each petition for probate of a will or the how to process starts with information gathering.  When determining how to probate a will, you first need to determine the approximate size if the estate.

You next need to gather the necessasry information regarding the existence of a will.  No will estates are handled through the intestate succession laws in California.  Without knowing whether there is a will, you must start in intestacy under estate administration rules.

Then, you must gather a list of names, addresses and relationships of the closest heirs, or those named in the will.   Probating a will necessitates record-keeping and diligence regardless of the court location of where the will is filed for probate.

Once you have those, you may spent a couple of hours preparing the petition.  Notice to all heirs must be guven, and you must publish the probate notice in a local newspaper in the city of residence of the deceased.

Now that you are ready, contact us for all help in filing your petition.  Need a referral for a probate lawyer? Call us.



Ca Probate California

How to Probate a Will in California?

Probating a will in California can be simple or complex.   It is usually simple, but can get complex in several situations:

a.   A beneficiary is disabled or on Medi-Cal.

b.   There is litigation involved.

c.   There are assets which are at risk for foreclosure.

d.   There are assets which are with the State of California Controller’s office or have escheated to the state.

e.   There are unusual assets like patents and copyrights.

f.    Someone has stolen money or other assets from the estate or decedent.

g.    A will is contested.

Contact us if you have any of the above situation.

Ca Probate California Glossary of Probate Terms Probate Definition Self Help Probate

Los Angeles Probate Court Glossary of Probate Terms

Name Description
Administrator The person who is appointed by the court to administer the estate of a person who died without a will.
Administrator with Will Annexed A person appointed by the court to handle and administer the estate of a person who died with a will, but this person was not named in the will to act as a personal representative.
Beneficiary An individual or organization to which a gift or real or personal property is make, or who will inherit from under the terms of the will.
Blocked accounts Cash or securities that are placed in a bank, trust company, insured savings & loan or insured brokerage account, subject to withdrawal only upon court order or statute.
Case Calendar You can access up to 14 days of the court calendar to find your court date.
Case Summary You can get a summary of your case. All you need is your case number.
Codicil An amendment or supplement to an existing will.
Conservatee A person determined by the court to be unable to protect and manage their own personal care or financial affairs, or both. A person who has a the court appointed a conservator.
Conservator A person or organization appointed by the court to protect and manage the personal care or financial affairs, or both, of a conservatee.
Conservator of the Estate A person who handles the conservatee’s financial matters – like paying bills and collecting a person’s income — if the judge decides the conservatee cannot do it.
Conservator of the Person Someone appointed by the court that cares for and protects a person when the judge decides that the person cannot provide their own care.
Defendant Cash or securities that are placed in a bank, trust company, insured savings & loan or insured brokerage account, subject to withdrawal only upon court order or statute.
Decedent A person who has died
Estate A person’s total possessions, including money, jewelry, securities, land, etc. These assets are managed by a fiduciary subject to a court order. Types of estates include guardianship estate, conservatorship estate, or decedent’s estate.
Executor The person named in a will to carry out the directions as set forth in the will. This person is the personal representative of the decedent’s estate.
Fiduciary A person with a legal responsibility safeguard the interests of another person, such as a guardian of the estate of a minor, a guardian, committee or conservator of the estate of an incompetent person, an executor of a will, or an administrator of the estate of a decedent.
Filing Court Locator You can find your filing location using a zip code.
Guardian A person appointed by the court to protect and manage the personal care or financial affairs, or both, of a minor.
Guardian Ad Litem A person appointed by a court as guardian of an child or other person to act on his or her behalf in a particular action or proceeding
Heir A person who would naturally inherit property through a will, or from another who died without leaving a will.
Holographic Will A will that is completely handwritten, dated and signed by the person making the will.
Intestate When used about a person, intestate means not having made a legally valid will prior to death; when used about property, intestate means not effectively disposed of by a legally valid will.
Irrevocable Trust A trust that cannot be changed at any time.
Letters The court document that establishes the authority to act as a guardian, conservator, or personal representative (executor or administrator). In decedent’s estates, an executor’s letters are designated ‘letters testamentary,’ and an administrator’s letters are ‘letters of administration.’
Limited Conservatorship A type of conservatorship for developmentally disabled adults.
Living Trust A revocable trust set up during the lifetime of a person to distribute money or property to another person or organization. Also known as an inter vivios trust.
Local Forms Forms created to standardize the preparation of documents in a specific court. Local forms usually can only be used in the court that created the form. They are different from Judicial Council forms that can be used in every Superior Court in California.
LPS Conservatorship A specific type of conservatorship, under the Lanternman-Petris-Short Act, which allows for involuntary detention and treatment of a person (the conservatee). This conservatorship is a result of mental disorder and the conservatee appears to be a danger to himself/herself or others, or is gravely disabled. The Public Guardian must file this matter.
Minor A person under the age of 18 who is placed in the care of a court appointed guardian.
Personal Property Anything owned by a person that can be moved such as money, securities, jewelry, etc.
Personal representative An administrator or executor appointed by the court to administer a decedent’s estate.
Petition A written, formal request, properly filed with the Court, for a specific action or order. The petition is a pre-printed Court form in some cases, or written in proper format on pleading paper in others.
Pro Bono Settlement Program A program which is operated by the San Fernando Valley Bar Association, and helps litigants settle cases free of charge.   You must sign up on the court’s calendar which is kept in Department 5.
Probate The legal process of administering a will. Also, the judicially supervised process for marshaling a decedent’s assets, paying proper debts, and distributing the remaining assets to the persons or entities entitled.
Probate Court The court that handles matters concerning wills and estates, such as the distribution of property or money to those named in a will. In California, the Probate Court also handles guardianships and conservatorships.
Probate Efiling You can create and submit the filing of your Probate case online.
Probate Notes You can find Probate Notes related to your case. All you need is your case number.
Property Anything that can be owned such as money, securities, land, buildings, etc.
Real Property Land and immovable objects on the land such as buildings.
Revocable Trust A trust in which the person making the trust retains the power to revoke the trust.
Small Estates A decedent’s estate may avoid probate and have personal property transferred directly to an heir if the decedent’s estate meets the requirements of California Probate Code § 13100.
Stipulation An agreement, usually on a procedural matter, between the attorneys for the two sides in a legal action. Some stipulations are oral, but the courts often require that the stipulation be put in writing, signed and filed with the court.
Successor Fiduciary he next person or organization appointed if a vacancy arises in a conservatorship, guardianship, or decedent’s estate because of the fiduciary’s death, removal, or resignation.
Testate It is the condition of a person who dies leaving a will; opposite of intestate.
Testator A person who makes a will.
Testamentary Trust A trust created by the terms of a will to manage assets given to the beneficiaries.
Trust An entity created to hold assets for the benefit of certain persons or entities, with a trustee managing the trust.
Trustee A person or organization that has been authorized by a trust to hold and manage property for the benefit of a beneficiary.
Trustor The person or persons who create a trust.
Ward A minor who has a guardian appointed by the court to care for and take responsibility for him or her.
Will A written document that leaves the estate of the person who signed the will to named persons or entities. The document should be made according to law (California Probate Code § 6100) and is filed in a probate court after the person has died.
Interpreter Request You can request an interpreter for your Probate case.


Probate Self-Help

California California Probate Instructions Los Angeles Probate Instructions Probate Guidelines

California Probate Instructions & Los Angeles Probate Guidelines


CA Wills, Estates & Trusts

This is the self-help section for Wills, Estates & Trusts.


Probate Basics Q & As


Title Description Resource
Starting a Probate or Obtaining Letters of Administration Instructions and Guidelines regarding the steps to start a probate proceeding or obtain Letters of Administration after an individual has died. It provides the mandatory Judicial Council forms by title and number, a detailed guide through the Petition for Probate form, definitions of frequently used words and phrases, requirements for filing in California and a brief description of filing procedures. View Document
Clearing Probate Notes Instructions How to clear Probate Notes in Los Angeles?   An overview of how to clear Probate Notes including instructions for on-line access to the Probate Notes through the Court’s website and a sample form, Supplement to Clear Probate Notes. View Document
Supplement to Clear Probate Notes Form Sample Supplement to a Petition for Probate, Printable form, non-fillable pleading paper formatted document.   If you need a fillable pleading paper, email us mailto:: View Document
– Supplement to Clear Probate Notes Instructions with Comments Instructions for completing the Supplement to Clear Probate Notes sample form, with brief descriptions in comment boxes on how to complete the form. See the Probate Notes first. View Document
Completing Your Order for Probate, Letters and Duties & Liabilities How to complete probate forms? Instructions regarding the forms to complete after the initial hearing wherein the Court grants the Order for Probate. (1 Page) View Document
– Order for Probate Form (DE-140) California Probate Forms. Fillable Judicial Council Form. View Document
– Attachment to Order for Probate (MC-025 Sample Attachment to Order. Sample Judicial Council form, fillable.   Remember that Judge signs the last line. View Document
– Letters (DE-150) Fillable Judicial Council Form. View Document
– Duties and Liabilities (DE-147) You must file this before the order is issued. Fillable Judicial Council Form. View Document
– Confidential Statement of Birth Date and Driver’s License Number (DE-147S) Some Counties require this form. Fillable Judicial Council Form. View Document
After Your Order for Probate is Entered and Letters Issued What to do after the Probate Order is signed by the Judge: regarding the steps in the Probate process after the Order for Probate is entered and Letters issued. It provides the mandatory Judicial Council forms by title and number, detailed steps through the form, a brief description of filing procedures and information on other agencies that may need to be contacted during the probate process. View Document
Closing Your Probate Estate Here are the steps to close a probate estate. It provides a general overview of the process to close a probate estate, the mandatory Judicial Council forms by title and number and where to obtain additional assistance. View Document



Title Description Resource
Withdrawal of Funds from Blocked Account An Instructional Guide regarding the steps to request a withdrawal of funds from a blocked account on behalf of a minor or by the minor who has now attained the age of 18. It provides the mandatory Judicial Council forms by title and number, detailed steps through the Withdrawal of Funds from Blocked Account form, including an example on how to complete the form, as well as a brief description of filing procedures. (2 Pages) View Document
Ex Parte Petition for Release of Remains of Decedent An Instructional Guide regarding the steps to request an emergency order for the release of remains of a decedent. It provides detailed steps through the Ex Parte Petition for Release of Remains of Decedent form, as well as a brief description of filing procedures. (1 Page) View Document