In California the courts provide a person with tremendous authority when the court appoints that person as:
- Executor or administrator in charge of the probate decedent’s estate court proceeding (or “probate”) of someone who has passed away;
- Conservator in charge of the conservatorship court proceeding (or “conservatorship”) for an adult who can’t take care of herself anymore; or
- Guardian in charge of the guardianship court proceeding (or “guardianship”) for a minor who needs someone to manage her affairs.
The court has safeguards to ensure that assets are managed appropriately by the executor, administrator, conservator, or guardian. Those safeguards include requiring a bond and accounts.
Incidentally, the court also has a system for vetting proposed executors, administrators, conservators, and guardians before appointing them. This is the subject of our prior post. It’s entitled “How Do California Courts Make Sure that Executors, Administrators, Conservators, and Guardians Are Trustworthy?”. Check it out.
In all of probates, conservatorships of the estate, and guardianships of the estate, the court may require the person requesting to be put in charge as executor, administrator, conservator, or guardian to file a surety bond with the court.
The surety bond is like an insurance policy. If you as the executor, administrator, conservator, or guardian mismanage or abscond with the assets, the company that issued the bond may be responsible for replacing the lost value.
For more information about bonds, please see our “What Is a Bond in a California Probate, Conservatorship, or Guardianship?” post.
Similarly, in all of probates, conservatorships of the estate, and guardianships of the estate, the court generally will require you as the executor, administrator, conservator, or guardian to file account petition(s) for court approval.
An account petition shows precisely how you managed all of the assets during a specific period of time. The account petition must show that you as the executor, administrator, conservator, or guardian managed all of the assets properly.
Otherwise, the court could surcharge you. In this context, a surcharge is a requirement that you replace the funds. You may need to replace them with your personal funds.
Get Help from an Experienced Probate, Conservatorship, and Guardianship Attorney
You need an experienced attorney to help you navigate this court system for making sure that you carry out your duties as executor, administrator, conservator, or guardian. It’s impossible to list every potential issue that could arise and the potential resolutions to each of them.
If you can’t address every potential issue effectively, you won’t achieve your goal of remaining executor, administrator, conservator, or guardian.
Hiring an attorney experienced with probates, conservatorships, and guardianships can help you avoid that problem.
At Meinzer Law Firm, P.C., we have over 20 years of experience helping clients achieve their goals in these types of cases. Contact Meinzer Law Firm, P.C., in Torrance to assist you with your California probate, conservatorship, or guardianship court case.