You should repost this question to Probate questions in California. Most PA attorneys are not going to be familiar with the probate procedures in California.
NOTE: Mr. Fischer is an attorney licensed to practice in Pennsylvania. He can be reached at 610-269-0900 Ext 2 or firstname.lastname@example.org. This answer was prepared for educational purposes only. By using this site you understand and agree that there is no attorney client relationship or confidentiality between you and the attorney responding. This site should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed attorney that practices in the subject area in your jurisdiction and with whom you have an attorney client relationship. Frequently the question does not include significant and important facts and time lines that if known could significantly change the response. The law changes frequently and varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. The information and materials provided are general in nature, and may not apply to a specific factual or legal circumstance described in the question or omitted from the question.
Attorneys on this site cannot provide guidance when they know a person is already represented. Simply put, I would seek consultation with another estate planning attorney if you (or the person you are writing for) is uncomfortable with their current lawyer.
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Law Offices of Marshall D. Chriswell
714 Philadelphia St., Suite 200
Indiana, PA 15701
Marshall D. Chriswell is a civil practitioner with offices in Indiana and Clearfield Counties. Mr. Chriswell's practice emphasizes Wills & Estate Planning, Probate, Real Estate, and general civil disputes.
Mr. Chriswell provides free initial consultations, and will gladly meet clients in their homes upon request, including on the evenings or weekends.
This communication does not constitute legal advice and does not establish an attorney/client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, feel free to contact our offices.
Given that you are currently represented by counsel, you need to have an open and frank conversation with your lawyer to explore this issue. If you are not satisfied with the response, you can look for replacement counsel.
When responding to questions posted on Avvo, I provide a general purpose response based on California law as I am licensed in California. In reviewing my response, you are specifically advised that your use of, or reliance upon any response I provide is not advisable. I do not have all relevant background details or facts related to your issue / matter, thus I am not in a position to give you legal advice. Further, your review, use of, or reliance upon my response does not establish an attorney-client relationship between us nor does it qualify as a legal consultation for any purpose. For specific advice regarding your particular circumstances, you should consult and retain local counsel.
I am a little confused by the question, is this your attorney, an attorney named as an executor by the deceased or an attorney appointed by the courts? If this is your attorney and you are not satified (or are beginning to question the recommendations of the attorney), you have the right to seek out and obtain new counsel. Otherwise, where this is not your legal representative, you may want to seek local counsel to address the questions you have asked.
It is not an unusual request.
In California probate cases, the petitioner is required to list the names, addresses, and relationships of all persons who would be the heirs if the decedent had died without a will. These are listed in the petition for probate that is first filed to commence probate proceedings. After the petition for probate of the estate is filed with the court, the attorney is required to mail a notice of hearing to all the people listed in the petition. This procedure applies whether or not there is a will.
Even if there is no probate because the decedent had a living trust, the attorney may be asking for the names of relatives because a notice to the heirs is required to be given by the trustee.