Do you need to file probate in Alameda County? Fortunately, you do not have to hire an attorney to file probate in Alameda County. Probate attorneys charge outrageous statutory fees even though they may invest little time in probating an estate. Avoid paying expensive legal fees and work with an experienced legal document preparer. Most probate cases are routine and not complex. Often the heirs and beneficiaries are cooperating with each other, and the estate simply requires the probate process to be completed. At A People’s Choice, we provide low-cost probate options to California residents. Check out our online probate calculator to find out how much money you may save by using our services.

Probate involves the court supervised process of administering the contents of a deceased person’s estate. This includes paying any outstanding debts and taxes before distributing any remaining assets to beneficiaries and heirs. Most probate matters are resolved within a year of filing.

“A People’s Choice walked me through the entire probate process. They are so professional and helpful. Thank you A People’s Choice for your staff’s guidance and patience to talk me through such a difficult time. You made the process very smooth for me. I am so glad that I found you.” Sandie K.
“A People’s Choice made a scary Probate pretty much stress free. I would send an email with a question I had thought of over the weekend with the expectation that I would get an answer on Monday. Lo and behold, I often got an answer within minutes! We are very pleased and will be referring our friends/family to A People’s Choice!”Lyn G.
“I am writing to give A People’s Choice my utmost recommendation. I live in New England and found them on the web. A People’s Choice handled my probate case with great professionalism and knowledge. They always responded promptly to my email questions. In the end, their service was exactly what I hoped for; they saved me thousands of dollars and allowed me to do it from across the country. They were truly a pleasure to work with.” Ken L.

Get help to File Probate in Alameda County!

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Important Money Saving Tip!

Probate attorneys charge statutory fees based on the gross value of the estate, starting at 4%, on a tiered scale. For example, attorneys fees for a $300,000 probate filed in Alameda County would be $9000! By using the flat fee services of an experienced probate legal document assistant, the estate can save thousands of dollars.

Click here to see how much you can save!

Where to File Probate in Alameda County

To start the probate process, file a petition for probate at the following location in Alameda County:

Berkeley Courthouse
2120 Martin Luther King, Jr. Way
Berkeley, CA 94704
Tel: 510-647-4439

The decedent must have lived in Alameda County to probate his/her estate at the Berkeley Courthouse. However, if the decedent lived outside California, probate can be filed in Alameda County if the decedent owned property there.

The Clerk’s office is open Monday through Friday from 8:30 AM to 2:30 PM. The probate court hears cases on guardianship matters, distribution of estate contents, petitions about trust administration, disputes about wills, trusts, and powers of attorney, and other matters that arise under the probate code.

Alameda County Probate Rules

Before you file probate in Alameda County, we recommend you review Alameda County’s probate rules to begin the process. The local probate rules, particularly Chapter/Title 7, detail how probate matters are administered. Make sure you comply with the local court rules as failure to do so may result in delays in the case or, worst case scenario, its dismissal.

Adjudicated Newspapers for Alameda County

As part of the probate process, the personal representative is required to arrange publication in a legal newspaper that has been determined to be proper.  If the decedent resided in a city that publishes a qualified newspaper, that newspaper must be used. This is despite the fact that other newspapers may also be sold or distributed within the city and the decedent never read the particular newspaper.

Possible options for publication may include the San Francisco Daily Journal, Valley Times, Inter-City Express, Daily Californian, Sing Tao, India Post, San Jose Mercury News, Daily Review, Oakland Post, Alameda Times, Oakland Tribune, Asian Week, and the Tri Valley Herald. Contact the Court Clerk to for an updated list of approved newspapers.

Alameda County Probate Examiner

The Alameda County probate examiner will review all your filed probate forms such as the Petition for Probate. After you file probate in Alameda county and the Examiner reviews all of the documents submitted, they will post “notes” regarding the paperwork. These notes will identify deficiencies or questions that the examiner feels should be corrected or clarified prior to the scheduled hearing. Unfortunately effective April 10, 2017 and due to reduced funding to the Court, Probate Examiner’s phone hours have been suspended until further notice. However, the examiner’s notes are typically available by the Court usually the day before the hearing date and can be publicly viewed online or at the courthouse. If no problems with the documents were found, the case may be listed as”pre-approved” or “pre-granted”. In order to qualify for pre-approval, all supporting documents and a proposed order must be submitted and filed with the court at least two days before the hearing. The list for pre-granted, continuances, drops, and tentative rulings for the following day’s hearings can be found here.

Alameda County Probate Referee

The probate referee appraises all non-monetary assets of the estate. At the time of appointment, the court will designate a probate referee to handle the appraisal process. Once all the assets of the estate are appraised, the probate administrator can liquidate property to pay the estate debts. There are several probate referees that service Alameda County:

Ted W. Dang, 1305 Franklin Street, Suite 500, Oakland, CA  94612; Phone: (510) 832-2468; e-mail:
Lonnie S. Dillard, 4200 Park Boulevard, PMB 538, Oakland, CA  94602; Phone: (510) 482-5247; e-mail:
Jacqueline Gordon, 5977 Shattuck Avenue, Oakland, CA  94609; Phone: (510) 658-4429; e-mail:
Marian Huntoon, 2625 Alcatraz Avenue, #370, Berkeley, CA  94705, Phone: (510) 541-2461, e-mail:
Neal A. Lacativo, P.O. Box 2734, Castro Valley, CA  94546, Phone: (510) 886-5987; e-mail:
Jack Lockhart, 412 El Cerrito Avenue, Piedmont, CA  94611; Phone: (510) 655-2615; e-mail:
Robert Sakai, 5977 Shattuck Avenue, Oakland, CA  94609, Phone: (510) 658-4429; e-mail:
Alfred L. Watts, 2211 Harbor Bay Parkway, Alameda, CA  94502, Phone: (510) 865-6746; e-mail:

How to Complete Probate in Alameda County

After the Petition for Probate has been filed and interested parties properly noticed, the assets of the estate must be appraised. Interested parties include the creditors, beneficiaries, and heirs. During the probate process, creditors can file claims for debts owed against the estate. As mentioned above, once the estate’s taxes and debts are paid, and no sooner than four months after Letters have been issued, the probate representative can ask the court for permission to distribute any remaining assets to beneficiaries and/or heirs.

Contact A People’s Choice for more information on how to file probate in Alameda County. Using our non-attorney probate services will undoubtedly save the estate thousands of dollars, putting more money into the pockets of the beneficiaries and heirs.

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