The Law Office of Robert L. Risley

Office: 626-397-2745


Death of a loved one is always emotional and difficult. I know this from personal experience. Although our experiences differ, in my case, I became pre-occupied with finding my lost loved one, seeing her in a crowd, detecting her familiar voice at a distance. Some survivors have episodes of insomnia, guilt, anger, loss of appetite, tears, and feeling vulnerable. Some may become apathetic, disorganized, and experience despair.

These emotional issues are in addition to the need to comply with the decedent’s wishes. Passing a loved one’s wealth to his or her beneficiaries, and the next generation, is the purpose of Estate and Trust Administration. Unfortunately, family tensions often erupt into open hostility, exacerbated by dispositions which are perceived to be unfair.

Estate administration takes many forms. Some involve the courts, and some, fortunately do not. If the decedent’s estate requires probate, and there is a will, a Petition for Letters Testamentary is filed, and barring a contest, court-supervised administration proceeds. This involves publication of a notice to creditors, orders made and “Letters” issued, inventories filed, creditors paid, and finally, distribution to beneficiaries. This process can take no less than six months. Most estates take longer, but are usually completed within a year. Occasionally estates remain open for many years.

The attorney’s professional responsibility is to oversee the termination of the decedent’s interests, the fulfillment of the estate’s legal responsibilities, and the disposition of the decedent’s assets in a legally correct and timely manner. We have undertaken these responsibilities for many estates over many years. We stand ready to provide guidance, representation, and advice.