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The Private Investigator and Probate Cases

After a loved one dies, initial concerns arise from the need to make final arrangements. Family ties and memorials require immediate attention. But after those important milestones come and go, the business of life resumes. The business of the decedent’s estate goes on. And a private investigator might be needed very shortly after the decedent expires.

California Probate Code §§ 9600 to 9606 list the duties imposed by California law on the personal representative. (Some people call this person the executor. “Executor” and “personal representative” mean the same thing under California law.)

Under Probate Code §§ 9650 to 9657, the executor has a duty to inventory the decedent’s estate assets, pay the expenses of the last illness, and pay any bills as they stream in. The inventory will need to include every item of personal property, jewelry, bank accounts, motor vehicles, investments, furniture – even clothing and personal memorabilia. And the inventory will need to list all the real estate owned by the person who has died. There may be many more assets to list than you might think.

And people have been known to hide assets. From their children, their spouses, their creditors, even their lawyers.

Developing an estate asset inventory is where the private investigator can help the most.

And the private investigator is very useful to the executor and heirs for another reason. The heirs and family expect to receive a thorough inventory. Sometimes emotions run high, especially as regards personalty like jewelry, firearms, automobiles and personal property like art, home furnishings and clothing.

The single best way for the executor to avoid unwarranted charges of omitting items from the inventory, or playing favorites by distributing items “off the books” is to have a private investigator prepare a thorough asset report, reflecting an asset search. The private investigator has no conflict of interest. A private investigator also has access to accountants, computer experts, insurance records, real property listings, military records and much more.

And, perhaps most importantly, a private investigator has objectivity. Because the private investigator is not a family member, heir or other beneficiary or insider.

And everything said above about the executor is equally true for heirs.

Who is an heir? Under Probate Code §44, “Heir” means any person, including a surviving spouse, who is entitled to take property of the person who has died.

Do you think the executor is leaving assets off the inventory? A private investigator can help you determine which assets have been left out. If an heir suspects misconduct or a lack of candor from the executor, the first step in finding out what was left out is to hire a private investigator to conduct a thorough estate asset search.

To start an individual asset search investigation, or if you even suspect something might be amiss with an estate, contact a licensed professional private investigator at AssetSearchPro.com for a free quote today.

Your rights are at stake. Do not delay.


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