How to find a will in California? Los Angeles County Probate Lawyer


1.  Look in Decedent’s home.

2.  Look in the deceased’s safety deposit box.

3.  Ask any known attorney of the decedent.

4.  Ask the CPA.

5.  Look for things that many not look like a will.   Notebooks with writings.  Journals.  Loose papers of the decedent.

6.  Go to the Courthouse (Los Angeles County Probate Court) and ask the registrar of wills if a will has been placed there for safekeeping.

7.  Look for handwritten wills.  They may be on plain paper, or a will may have even been written on a napkin!  These are called holographic wills and can be very useful.

Mina Sirkin is an attorney in California who has spent the last 25 years helping families find peace, and file wills  in probate estates in California.  Contact: or call 818.340.4479.  Web:

Sirkin Law Group’s probate attorneys and lawyer regularly serve the following cities and areas in Los Angeles County, Ventura County, Orange County, Santa Barbara County. San Fernando Valley; Bell Canyon,Woodland Hills Calabasas Conservatorship & Elder Law, Complex Conservatorships, Complex Estates, Contested Conservatorship Litigation Woodland Hills & Los angeles,  Hidden Hills, Elder Law Woodland Hills, Conservatorship Woodland Hills,  West Hills, Los Angeles, Glendale, ProbateAttorneyLosAngeles, LosAngelesProbateAttorney, Calabasas, Woodland Hills Elder Law, Agoura, El Segundo, Westchester, Marina Del Rey, Venice, San Marino, Altadena, Eagle Rock, Alhambra, Downtown Los Angeles, Van Nuys, Pasadena, Studio City, West Los Angeles, Beverly Hills, Burbank, LosAngeles, Encino, Tarzana, Woodland Hills, Reseda, North Hills, West Hills, Winnetka, Agoura Hills, Sunland, Studio City, Universal City, North Hollywood, Sylmar, Northridge, North Hills, Granada Hills, Pacoima, Simi Valley, Canoga Park, Woodland Hills Conservatorship Attorney, East Los Angeles, Woodland Hills Elder Law Attorney,  West Hollywood, West Los Angeles, Chatsworth, Santa Monica, Culver City, Los Angeles, Woodland Hills Elder Law, West Hollywood, Anaheim, Playa Del Rey,, Marina Del Rey, Conservatorship, Woodland Hills, Venice, Santa Monica, Malibu, Culver City, Elder Law Conservatorship Woodland Hills Calabasas, Manhattan Beach, Hermosa Beach, Redondo Beach, Los Angeles California, Trust Litigation La County, Torrance, Pacific Palisades, LosAngelesProbate, Pasadena, Glendale, Burbank, Long Beach, Newport Beach, Costa Mesa,Irvine, Laguna, Laguna Hills, Laguna Niguel, Newport Beach, Tustin, Fullerton, Los Angeles, Santa Ana, Los Angeles and Santa Barbara. Westlake Village, Thousand Oaks, Sherman Oaks, Studio City.   Practice areas: Los Angeles Probate Attorney, Probate Attorney Los Angeles, CA Probate Law, Probate Litigation Los Angeles, Trust Litigation Los Angeles, Probate Lawyer Los Angeles. Probate, Trust, Conservatorship, Special Needs Trusts, Los Angeles Conservatorship Attorney, Estate Planning, Conservatorship Litigation, Trust Litigation, and Probate Litigation areas. Los Angeles Probate Lawyer & Probate Attorney Los Angeles


Will you inherit from your deceased spouse if there is no will?

Intestate Succession in Los Angeles, California  
If your spouse dies without a will, the amount you will inherit from the estate, will depends on the character of the property.  Intestate Succession attorneys in Los Angeles advise clients regarding how distribution of assets are done, when there is no will in California.   Instate succession distributions can be complex and fact based, and should always be done with consultation with an attorney.
Probate Code 6401.  

(a) As to community property, the intestate share of the surviving spouse is the one-half of the community property that belongs to the decedent under Section 100.

(b) As to quasi-community property, the intestate share of the surviving spouse is the one-half of the quasi-community property that belongs to the decedent under Section 101.

(c) As to separate property, the intestate share of the surviving spouse is as follows:

(1) The entire intestate estate if the decedent did not leave any surviving issue, parent, brother, sister, or issue of a deceased brother or sister.

(2) One-half of the intestate estate in the following cases:

(A) Where the decedent leaves only one child or the issue of one deceased child.

(B) Where the decedent leaves no issue, but leaves a parent or parents or their issue or the issue of either of them.

(3) One-third of the intestate estate in the following cases:

(A) Where the decedent leaves more than one child.

(B) Where the decedent leaves one child and the issue of one or more deceased children.

(C) Where the decedent leaves issue of two or more deceased children.

(Amended by Stats. 2014, Ch. 913, Sec. 32. Effective January 1, 2015.)

For more information about intestacy or intestate succession in Los Angeles, call Mina Sirkin, Probate Attorney in Los Angeles, at 818-340-4479 or email:

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:  We can help in removing and replacing an executor, or trustee in Los Angeles County, Woodland Hills, Glendale, & Pasadena.