Looking to file probate in Santa Clara County? This article will provide valuable tips to help you in this process.

Simple Probate Overview

Probate consists of the court supervised process that legally transfers title of property from an estate of the deceased to his/her beneficiaries. Keep in mind, however, that not all property, however, has to go through probate when a person dies. Only property subject to the jurisdiction of the probate court is to be probated. For example, property held in trust does not have to be probated. In addition, California’s simplified probate procedures allow property valued at $150,000 or less to be transferred to beneficiaries without going through the full probate process.

To file probate in Santa Clara County, a Petition to Probate must be prepared and filed with the court where the decedent lived at the time of death. Next, the petitioner (the person who is going to represent the estate) must give all interested parties notice that a probate has been filed. Secondly, the personal representative must complete an inventory and appraisal of the decedent’s assets and debts. As part of this process, a probate referee will need to appraise all the non-monetary assets listed on the inventory. Once this is done, the probate referee’s appraisal must be filed with the court. During the probate process, assets may need to be liquidated to pay creditors and taxes. Lastly, the estate can be closed and all remaining assets can be distributed to the decedent’s beneficiaries or heirs. When you file probate in Santa Clara County, you will typically incur publication costs, appraisal costs, court filing fees, and sometimes a surety bond fee.

Contrary to popular belief, you do not have to hire an attorney to file probate in Santa Clara County. Keep in mind that probate attorney fees are set by state law. The attorney’s fee is based on the gross value of the probated estate. In other words, the allowed fee is not directly tied to the amount of effort spent on the case. For example, an attorney will receive substantially higher fees for an estate valued at $900,000 versus $1,000,000, even though no more work is required. You can avoid these fees by hiring a non-attorney probate service such as A People’s Choice. A People’s Choice is a great, low-cost alternative to hiring a Santa Clara county probate attorney. Our probate services are based on low flat fees. With over 35 years of experience, we are familiar with the necessary steps to not only file probate in Santa Clara County, but also help you complete the entire case.

“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.

Get help to File Probate in Santa Clara County!

  • or call 1-800-747-2780

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 $325,000 would be $9500! By using the flat fee services of A People’s Choice to file probate in Santa Clara County, the estate can save thousands of dollars.

Click here to see how much you can save!

Information and Resources for Santa Clara County Probates

Here are some tips and other details to be aware when you need to file probate in Santa Clara County.

  • Santa Clara County uses the standard probate Judicial Council forms for probate proceedings.
  • There may be more local forms required when filing a Santa Clara County probate matter.
  • The Santa Clara County court does not appoint attorneys for probate cases. In order to file probate in Santa Clara County, you would either need to 1) hire an expensive probate attorney 2) hire a more reasonably priced non-attorney legal document assistant that handles probate matters or 3) do it yourself.
  • The Santa Clara Superior Court requires the original will to be lodged with the court at the same time the Petition is filed. You may be required to pay an additional $50 filing fee when lodging the will.
  • The probate court clerk can be contacted at 408-882-2100 x2654.
  • All probate filings are processed in the downtown division.
  • Online case inquiry is conveniently available for Santa Clara County probate cases.
  • Parties may appear by phone at probate hearings through CourtCall.

Santa Clara Probate Court

The downtown division of the Santa Clara County Superior Court hears all probate matters. This includes handling the estate of a person who has died (probate), guardianship and conservatorship, and trust and power of attorney cases. The address of the probate court is 191 North First Street San Jose, CA 95113. With this in mind, all probate proceedings must be filed at this site. A People’s Choice can help file probate paperwork we prepare with the probate court clerk in Santa Clara. In this regard, we have several different options based on the needs of the client.

Santa Clara County Local Rules for Probate

Every county has local rules which provide instruction about their processes and procedures. For example, the probate paperwork requirements for Santa Clara County may be completely different from that of San Mateo County.  In other words, just because one court does it one way, does not mean another court does it the same. Some courts require all exhibits to have a special tab. On the other hand, other courts need certain documents to be printed on colored paper. When you file probate in Santa Clara county, it is important to be aware of the Santa Clara local rules. Alternatively, if you hire someone to help you, make sure you hire a company that is familiar with the local rules of the Santa Clara Superior Court. This will avoid any delays in the processing of your case. The probate procedures and local rules for Santa Clara County are located on the court’s website. 

Santa Clara County Adjudicated Legal Newspapers

When you file probate in Santa Clara County, you must publish notice in a local newspaper. Make sure you follow the rules that define which newspaper is proper to handle the publication process. A list of the adjudicated newspapers for Santa Clara county can be found at Attachment PB-4000 here. As a courtesy to our probate clients, A People’s Choice arranges the publication in every case we handle to make sure this process is properly handled.

Probate Referees For Santa Clara County

As part of the probate process, your case may need a probate referee. The role of the probate referee is to appraise and value all the non-cash probate assets. A list of Santa Clara county probate referees can be found on the court’s website. When you choose A People’s Choice to help with the probate process, we will handle all the behind-the-scenes activity required to complete this step of the probate proceedings.

Santa Clara County Probate Examiner Notes

Santa Clara County offers online access for probate matters. In addition, a listing of “pre approved matters” can be found here.  The Probate Division staff update and post the pre approved calendar for upcoming hearings about 48 hours before the scheduled hearing. If a matter has been pre approved, no court appearance is necessary.

When filing probate in Santa Clara County, you should check the probate examiner’s notes starting two weeks before a scheduled hearing. The probate notes can be found in through the case online access portal. Questions about probate examiner’s notes may be made to the probate examiner via phone at (408) 882-2100 x2668.

Low-Cost Probate Help

We hope you have found the information is this article valuable. In conclusion, if you need help to file probate in Santa Clara County, we urge you to contact A People’s Choice. You do not need to hire an attorney to file probate in Santa Clara County.  In comparison, you will also save thousands of dollars using our non-attorney probate services. A People’s Choice offers a great option for people to complete the complex  probate process without the stress of doing it on their own. Call us today at 800-747-2780 to learn more about our probate services.

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A People’s Choice can save you hundreds of dollars by preparing your legal documents instead of an expensive attorney!


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