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Loren, Attorney
Category: Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 34044
Experience:  30 years experience in the practice of estate law.
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I have been named Executor in a Will for a friend who recently

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I have been named Executor in a Will for a friend who recently passed in California.

The Estate has nearly no value (stock in Private Companies and less than $10k after Funeral and medical expenses. I live in Nevada.

Do I need to appear in Court in either Nevada or California to perform my duties as Executor? Is there an easy guideline of steps that can help me perform this duty without exposing myself unnecessarily. I suspect that the Creditors will consume the remaining cash and their is a $20K+ tax bill from the IRS. I would like your guidance and find out if you have a service you can offer me to give me the correct actions, sequence and time frames for them to complete this role.
Thank you for using JustAnswer. I am Loren, a licensed attorney, and I will do whatever I can to answer your question and provide you excellent service.

Before we begin, a bit more detail would be helpful please.

Have you considered declining the appointment? There is no reason to probate an insolvent estate unless you have a personal stake int he outcome, such as being a cotenant in real property.

Thank you.

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

He was my best friend and asked it of me. There is stock in privately held start-ups that may provide the members of the family with some benefits in the future (5 years is my guess) and the odds of them succeeding are very average or less. It will be a good return or absolutely nothing.


I have a small (5% award) which I have no expectations around. I do want to help the family.


He left a Fiance behind. Everyone is hit pretty hard.

Thank you, XXXXX XXXXX the additional information.

Your job as executor will last about six months to a year. First, the executor files the will, along with a document called “Petition for Probate,” with the probate court in the county where your friend lived. There is a filing fee of about $400; some counties charge a bit more. Some other forms may need to be filed as well, and formal notices given to interested parties. The will, if there is one, must be shown to be valid; usually this is done by having the witnesses sign a sworn statement that’s submitted to the court. When everything is in order, the court issues “Letters Testamentary” or “Letters of Administration,” appointing you as executor and granting you authority over estate assets. The forms are available from the clerk of the probate court.

Since the estate is potentially insolvent, a small estate affidavit is not appropriate.

Once the executor has this authority, the process of gathering the deceased person’s assets can begin. It’s also the time for the executor to get organized, set up a filing system so that benefits and bills are addressed, apply for a taxpayer ID number for the estate, and open an estate bank account. The executor will need to compile, and file with the court, an inventory and appraisal of all probate property.

As you can see, this is, potentially, a lot of work for you mainly to see that the creditors are paid. So, do consider if this is something you want to start.

It is my privilege to assist you.  Let me know if you need further information.  I hope I have helped you feel informed and empowered in the service I have provided to you.  I am here for you.

Since this forum is no substitute for your own legal counsel, you may want to verify the information I have provided with a local attorney who is familiar with your local laws and procedures.

I am happy to answer your follow-up questions and assist you until I am able to explain the answer to your satisfaction. 

Thank you.

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Thanks Loren. Specifically, I live in Nevada, but the Decedent lived in California.


California says that if the Estate is worth less than $150k - then Probate is not required. I am working to avoid Probate because of the associated costs, time, heavy filing, etc. Since I seem to satisfy the requirements to not need Probate - does that mean I still need to file a "Petition for Probate"?


So - if no Probate, must I register my role with the Court? If so does it matter if it is California or Nevada?


Thanks - I don't wish to abuse your time - I just am trying to figure out where I need to be registered or endorsed - in order to get this done.



Thank you, XXXXX XXXXX following up with me.

Unfortunately, the "no probate" limit of $150,000 is for using a small estate affidavit in place of formal probate.

That is not an option for an estate which is insolvent of heavily in debt, as you have indicated is the situation for your late friend.

With an insolvent estate, it is not really something you can oversee from out of state, unless you hire an attorney in state and basically just sign documents prepared by the attorney.

Otherwise, it may be more appropriate for someone in California to handle the appointment.

Thank you.

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

I don't know what the debt situation is. I don't believe that it is significant - I just think there won't be much cash to distribute (if any) and the real distribution will be the stock.


I have contacted the company that issued the stock and they are fine on issuing Certificates to beneficiaries (the stock value is about $.02 per share, is not liquid currently.


the tax debt is the unknown. I will work with a California Accountant to manage the Distributions.


Forgive my ignorance here. Is there a specifically named "Affidavit of No Probate" that I need to file with the Court in the County where he died? I just want to know the name and find out if I need to be there to file it.


I don't think I will no the real picture of solvency for at least 3 months. So it may revert to Probate if it is insolvent - but if we can bypass it - to me that seems to make the most sense..


Hopefully, this will complete the question and answers on this topic.


Thanks for your time and thoughtful answers.



Thank you for the additional information Bob.

Yes, you can find a small estate affidavit at the following link:

Here is some more information about the small estate process you may find useful:

I hope this is helpful to you.

Thank you.

Loren and other Estate Law Specialists are ready to help you
Thank you for your positive rating of my service to you. Let me know if you need more help or have future questions. I will be here for you. Just ask for me by name at the start of your question - "Loren" or use the following link (which you can bookmark in your browser):

Best wishes and good luck to you.

If it is not too much trouble, Bob, when you receive a Customer Satisfaction Survey from JA/Pearl in a day or two, please consider rating me highly (9 or 10). It affects my ability to continue to assist you and other customers on JA/Pearl and would be most appreciated.  
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

No problem Loren. Happy to do so. You really helped me clarify what I needed to know.





Thanks again. It is very much appreciated.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.



I got your follow up note about having all my questions answered. For now, I have my questions answered - but I expect I will have more and will subscribe to the unlimited questions service when that happens.


In the meantime, I rated your service at the end of our series (very highly) and have not received a followup survey.


If there is something else Ineed to do, please let me know.




Bob Smith

Thanks Bob. Much appreciated.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

No problem, I just wanted to close that loop and make sure that I was complete on my side..


Take Care



Best wishes and good luck to you.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

I appreciate it. Because of your good help, I am going to sign up as a subscriber. As you know this is tricky and I find the Premium package seems to be the way to go.


Obviously I am doing this so that I don't have to engage an Attorney formally and deplete the remainder of the Estate. I think the value of this is about the quality of questions I ask. I see the disclaimer about the answers not being a substitute for an Attorney - but Loren, I have to believe that this is more than just an Attorney Lead Generating system.


When it comes to drafting documents and managing the details, I think an Attorney is really useful in the Estate side of things.


Any guidance you would like to share on what to count on or "not do" are appreciated. No expectation from you on this. I am just about the task of trying to honor my Friend's wishes.


Thanks again and great success to you. You are a good guy.





Hi Bob,

Thank you for your kind thoughts and wishes. I am glad I could be of assistance.

JA, in so far as we are prohibited from representing or referring customers to a specific attorney, is not a lead generating system at all. It is a question and answer service which works best with specific questions such as "how much notice is required to end a month to month tenancy in Illinois..." or "is a handwritten will admissible to probate in Florida..." or where to find the proper form.

If you have a specific question regarding the law, that is an efficient and good use of your subscription. As far as strategic decisions, what to expect or drafting of documents, those are really things which cross the line from legal information to representation, which is prohibited by site rules and state bar regulations. In other words, those questions are best directed to local counsel who has your relevant documents to review.

Thank you again, Bob, and good luck to you.