What to do if the executor’s name changes during probate administration in Los Angeles?

When an executor’s name has changed during the term of probate administration in Los Angeles, the executor’s attorney may file an ex parte application in court, asking the court to authorize issuance of an amended Letters Testamentary, or the Letters of Administration to reflect that there is a new name for the executor or administrator.   The executor or administrator must file an affidavit swearing to the change in name.    Then, an order amending letters needs to be prepared and issued, followed by an amended Letters.

The process of amending letters is not difficult.  For more information about amending letters testamentary, or letters of administration, contact: Mina Sirkin, probate attorney at 818-340-4479 or Email: Info@SirkinLaw.com.

How to Become an Executor of an Estate in Los Angeles

Executor of Estate

Many people ask us how to become an executor of an estate in Los Angeles.    Becoming an executor is not the same as just being nominated to act as an executor in a will.   After the person is nominated as executor, he or she must file papers in the Los Angeles Superior Court, which start with a Petition for Probate.

Before anyone acts as an executor, there are many things to learn about wills and probate:

  1.  An executor is a fiduciary.  This means that he or she must put the interests of the estate before his/her personal interests.
  2.  An executor must obtain advice from an estate attorney to keep in line with the duties of an executor.
  3.  When you become an executor of a will, you must file income tax returns for the decedent, and also for the estate.  This means that if  the decedent did not file tax returns in the last few years of his/her life, the executor must step-in and file those tax returns.   The  process can be overwhelming and not pleasant.
  4.  Wills and estates are related, but not always.   A will must be admitted to court to become the instructions of the deceased person.  Without the will being admitted to court, the court does not know that the will is the last wishes of the deceased.
  5.  The will executor must comply with a set of executor duties prescribed by the law in California.  Will or estate executor duties can be  found in a Judicial Council form called Duties and Liabilities of personal representative.
  6.  A personal representative is the same as the probate executor or probate administrator.
  7.  When you become an executor, you are signing that you will accept all of the duties and responsibilities of an executor under California law.
  8.  Your estate executor fees are determined by statute in California based on a formula.
  9.  Your executor fees can be cut by the court, if you fail to act properly and are surcharged by the court.
  10.  You must take the duties of an executor seriously when you become appointed as the executor.
  11.  As part of your duties of an executor, you must file an accounting in probate court.

Mina Sirkin and Evan Sirkin are Los Angeles Probate Lawyers who help executors of estates with their duties to the probate court and beneficiaries. Since 1993, we have assisted personal representatives successfully manage and distribute millions of dollars in probate estates.   Contact us at 818.340.4479 for more information.

Replacing an Executor or Trustee in Los Angeles County

You can replace an executor or trustee in Los Angeles County for many reasons.   Below is a list of how to and reasons to remove and replace an executor or trustee.
  1.  The executor or trustee has mismanaged the assets of the estate or trust.  This means any loss to the trust or estate, or any personal profit by the executor or trustee.
  2. The executor or trustee has not accounted after an order by the court.
  3. The executor or trustee is fighting with the beneficiaries and has an adverse personal interest in the estate or trust.
  4. The executor or trustee has died.
  5. The executor or trustee has become ill and cannot handle the affairs of the estate or trust.
  6. The executor or trustee has stolen money from the trust or estate.
  7. The executor or trustee has personally profited from the estate or trust, unless the trust or will specifically allows for that.


Generally, if the issue is simply rendering an accounting, the beneficiary will formally request the accounting, and the executor or trustee within a reasonable amount of time (usually 60) days will account.  If that does not occur, and a court orders the executor or trustee to account, and the executor or trustee does not comply, then there is good cause to remove the executor or trustee.
The existence of “good cause” depends on the language of the will or trust.   It is commonly not permissible to remove an executor without good cause.   A prolonged illness which renders an executor or trustee unable to act, is usually good cause, as is death.   Theft and mismanagement are also good causes, but do require proof of those in court.


If you are found not to have good cause to remove or replace a trustee, the court can deem that as an indirect attack against a will or trust, and deem it a contest, which can sometimes result in loss of a beneficiary’s rights, where there is a no contest clause.   California courts can also assess attorney’s fees and costs, where the beneficiary has acted unreasonably in contesting an accounting.


If you find that your situation meets any of the reasons to remove or replace an executor or trustee in Los Angeles, call Mina Sirkin, Board Certified Specialist in Estate Planning, Probate and Trusts in Los Angeles County, California.   Call: 818-340-4479 for appointments or email: Info@SirkinLaw.com.  We can help in removing and replacing an executor, or trustee in Los Angeles County, Woodland Hills, Glendale, & Pasadena.