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If the attorney who drafted a will or trust named himself or herself as the executor or trustee, am I required to use this attorneys services?

You are not required to use drafting attorney services as executor or trustee, and you may not be required to use their services at all. In fact, under California probate law, if the drafting attorney is named in the documents as the executor or trustee for a will or trust, it is presumed that this was done for an improper reason. This will usually work in your favor if you need to have them removed.

Before taking any actions, you will want a second opinion by obtaining attorney services. It is possible, especially in the case of a trust, that the drafting attorney may be named to provide a different service related to the estate, such nominating the California successor trustee after the original trustee has died.

This isn’t necessarily a questionable situation, though it is in your best interest to take your attorney’s interpretation of the trust’s terms under advisement.

If you want the drafting attorney removed from the position of executor or trustee of an estate:

  • Send a written request to them directly, asking them to decline the position. Oftentimes, this is sufficient.
  • If the drafting attorney refuses your request, petitioning probate court will usually get them removed.

The Riverside probate lawyers at The Grossman Law Firm offer probate and trust administration, will contests, and probate litigation services to clients in Riverside County and outlying areas. For a free, 30-minute consultation with one of our team, call us toll-free at 888-443-6590. Use our quick contact form to reach us online.

Also request Scott Grossman’s must-read book for trustees and executors The Insider’s Guide to California Probate and Trust Administration, which is available to you FREE.

Estate (noun):

An estate includes the things that a person owns. The things left by someone who has died can be distributed based on a Will, Trust, or Intestate laws. Estates have to be administered in the Probate Court if the estate meets certain criteria. See our Infographic on The Probate Process.

Executor (noun):

Person named in a Will as the person who will make sure that the instructions in the Will are followed. They are responsible for executing the Will, and are either appointed by the court or by the deceased person. They are responsible for taking care of a deceased person’s financial obligations. Financial obligations include disposing of property and paying bills and taxes. The executor must also make certain that the deceased last wishes are carried out according to the Will.

Scott Grossman

Scott Grossman


The Grossman Law Firm, APC · 525 B Street, Suite 1500, San Diego, CA 92101 · (951) 523-8307

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