I am a beneficiary of the estate and the executor will not give me the important papers. What can I do?

When an executor is appointed by the probate court, there are certain types of information ad papers which a beneficiary can get by requesting them.

In California, a beneficiary has the right to reasonable information about the affairs of the estate.     Such information includes what assets have been inventoried by the estate executor.   This means, the beneficiary is allowed to get a copy of the estate executor’s inventory.

How does the beneficiary get the estate papers from the executor?

  1.  Write a certified return receipt requested to the executor with the specific information you need.
  2. Talk to a lawyer about whether the type of information you are requesting is legitimately necessary.
  3. Have your lawyer file a Request for Special Notice.

California executors must give you an inventory and an accounting.  In the accounting, you are entitled to see all the assets, income and expenses of the estate.   If you have made a written request to the executor and there has been no response, you will need an attorney.

Mina N. Sirkin is a Board Certified Specialist attorney in probate and estate planning who can obtain the documents you need from the executor or the court.   Call Probate Attorney, Mina Sirkin at 818.340.4479

Can an executor of a will use the money from an estate for things that are not bills of estate?

No, generally, the executor of the will cannot use the money of the estate to pay for things that are not bills of the estate.

An executor of an estate in California can only use the money from an estate for things that are related to expenses and bills of the estate.


However, there are categories of bills of the estate which cannot be paid from the estate account without a court order.

The executor cannot pay himself from the estate without a court order.

The executor of the estate may not pay his attorney from the assets of the estate without a court order.

The executor of the estate may not pay distributions to beneficiaries and heirs without a court order.


Thing that can regularly get paid from the estate without a court order as follows:

  1. Taxes
  2. Bond
  3. Accountant’s fees.
  4. Utilities of the property.
  5. Insurance.
  6. Claims of creditors which have been filed timely and have been accepted by the creditor.
  7. Probate Referee’s bill.
  8. Storage Bills.

To find out more about the types of expenses that the executor can pay from the estate, contact Mina Sirkin, Probate Attorney at 818-340-4479.