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LegalGems
LegalGems, Attorney
Category: Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 8716
Experience:  Private Practice; Elder Law Attorney; Estate Planning; Attorney Mentor
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I need to find the executor of someone's estate. The person

Customer Question

I need to find the executor of someone's estate. The person died in Los Angeles in November of 2012. But a search indicates that probate for the person was not opened
in the following year. How do I find the executor?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Estate Law
Expert:  LegalGems replied 1 year ago.
My goal is to provide great service - if you have any questions, please ask. A follow up consult with a personal attorney is always recommended.
Per Probate code 8001, the representative of the estate must open probate within 30 days of the date of death:
8001. Unless good cause for delay is shown, if a person named in a
will as executor fails to petition the court for administration of
the estate within 30 days after the person has knowledge of the death
of the decedent and that the person is named as executor, the person
may be held to have waived the right to appointment as personal
representative -http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/cgi-bin/displaycode?section=prob&group=07001-08000&file=8000-8007
Probate is not always necessary - for example, probate is not necessary for any property which designates a beneficiary (ie life insurance), for any property held as joint tenants with right of survivorship (bank accounts, real property), and for any property held in a trust (the trustee distributes the property without having to file anything with the probate court).
So in order to locate the representative of the estate (trustee if trust; executor if will; personal representative if person died without a will and the assets passed via intestate succession i.e. next of kin) one would need to do some investigative research.
For example, if there is a trust, any real property in the trust will be held in trust, in the trustee's name. This is public record and can be ascertained by viewing the property history at the county recorder's office in the county where the property is located.
If that reveals nothing, then a professional investigator would be best, ***** ***** would check the databases (subscription based) for insurance policies, bank accounts, etc, to locate the property of the decedent and to determine who is acting as the fiduciary.
If the fiduciary (representative) did not distribute the property according to the estate planning documents or intestate succession, the fiduciary can be held personally liable for the economic damage suffered by the estate (and heirs).
Information on probate, along with an explanation of property that does not require probate, can be located here - http://www.alameda.courts.ca.gov/pages.aspx/Probate-a-Decedents-Estate#3 - this information is not county specific but is applicable throughout the state.
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Expert:  LegalGems replied 1 year ago.
Here is information on the licensing information.
http://www.bsis.ca.gov/forms_pubs/pi_fact.shtml
So any hired investigator should be properly licensed - licensure can be verified here:
http://www2.dca.ca.gov/pls/wllpub/wllqryna$lcev2.startup?p_qte_code=PI&p_qte_pgm_code=2420

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