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.

What our Clients Say...
“I cannot say enough about the time and money this company saved me. With their help I finished Probate in Tulare Co on my brother estate in little over 12 months. I am a letter carrier with no legal training, yet , I completed the entire process mainly because A People’s Choice walked me thru each step. They filed most papers electronically which resulted in me needing only three court appearances (and saved me from many trips to Visalia.) Keep in mind, all probates are different but if you have limited resources I recommend this company. The Probate Judge complimented me on the good work I received from A People’s Choice, saying this was not always to case with other legal help offices.”
Jack M.
“I used A People’s Choice to prepare and file documents to probate my sister’s estate.  I began the probate process in pro per and hired them after discovering the difficulty in processing the probate by myself.  Very knowledgeable with good technology to keep me informed.  Their fees were significantly less than what I would have had to pay for an attorney, yet their services were excellent. I can’s see where an attorney would have been any better (or as good). Highly recommend this service.”
Ron C.
“Can’t say enough about the level of service and professionalism I received working with A People’s Choice. Emails were always responded to quickly and thoughtfully. They really care about the process and helping you get the best result with no up-selling. Of course, they can’t provide legal advice, but I was referred to an attorney when I needed some questions answered who was very reasonable and easy to get a hold of as well. The process played out according to plan, and I ended up saving a lot of money by going with A People’s Choice over an attorney.”
M. Rice
“I am writing to give A People’s Choice my utmost recommendation. Living in New England, I found them on the web. After speaking with a staff member on the phone I had the confidence to give them my business. A People’s Choice handled my probate case with great professionalism and knowledge. My case turned out to be more complicated than originally believed, and the staff walked me through each step. 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.”
K. Levenson
“A People Choice provided excellent support with the appropriate legal documents and filing process in a spousal property petition after my husband passed. Lawyers wanted to charge me a fortune. However, once I spoke with someone at A People’s Choice, they took on my case and guided me through every step. A People’s Choice has years of experience, which gave me a sense of trust and confidence. I always got immediate feedback from every email request. If you need probate help, I would highly recommend A People’s Choice.”
Sylvia A
“I had a great experience with my California probate case using A People’s Choice! The people that assisted me were so helpful.  I certainly could not have done this probate by myself.  The best part was that I was able to save over $10,000 in lawyer fees!  All my emails were always returned so quickly. Needless to say, I am a very satisfied customer.  I would highly recommend A People’s Choice to all my friends and family!”
Joi C
“When my mother-in-law passed away last year, we didn’t know what to do. We contacted A People’s Choice and from day one they were very helpful. They held our hand every step of the way, and if I had a question any time of the day or night someone got back to me within a few hours. I highly recommend A People’s Choice if you don’t know what to do and don’t want to pay the high price of a lawyer, especially if you don’t have much money.”
Mikki C
“A People’s Choice helped us throughout our entire year-long probate making the process very easy and manageable while at the same time saving us thousands of dollars in lawyer’s fees. Not only were they extremely friendly and fast to respond to our questions but they made the process simple enough that we hardly ever had to contact the courthouse directly and we even had a hearing done without an appearance. Would highly recommend A People’s Choice to anyone!”
A. Vuckovich
“I must say that A People’s Choice is a very responsible and effective company. The staff there is very nice and replied to all my questions by email quickly. With their help, I accomplished the probate in 8 months successfully and saved at least $10,000.00 in attorney fees, so I strongly recommend everybody to contract with A People’s Choice and let them help you with your legal documents. You will be very satisfied with their work as I did!!!!”
C. Chiu
“Thanks to A People’s Choice, I was able to get through a probate matter very smoothly. I had not one issue with the Courts. They guided me through the whole probate until the very end. I live up north, but that didn’t matter, A People’s Choice did an excellent job keeping me informed with everything that I needed to do. I saved THOUSANDS of dollars by going with A People’s Choice. You can’t go wrong, no matter what your needs are. I saved a lot of money by not having to pay out a percentage to an attorney. Many thanks to the staff at A People’s Choice for the great help they give to everyone in their times of need like I was! Thank You.”
R. Leonard
“When my father passed away without a will, we needed help handling the transfer of his assets. Since there weren’t significant assets, I didn’t want to spend too much on the legal paperwork. A People’s Choice offered just the right service we needed. In particular, the staff was very responsive to our document filing needs, helping to turn around corrections almost immediately. They helped to ease a tough situation.”
Michael C.
“I used A People’s Choice for help with a probate matter. My grandfather died Christmas of 2016. He had a living trust, but no one was able to find it. We went to A People’s Choice, and we were able to do a probate affidavit to get what was left of my grandfather’s estate. Took two days for the documents to be prepared and the bank accepted them without any questions. Sandy was the one who assisted us, and we really appreciate the help that was provided. A+ service.”
David R.
“A People’s Choice worked on my probate case for over 1 year. Their knowledge, dedication, and commitment to clients are exceptional, preparing the required legal documents, and all the court filings. They used the e-filing system which really expedited the process. They always answered my emails in a very timely manner and were professional. The probate process is long and sometimes seems overwhelming. It’s also very expensive, A People’s Choice saved me thousands of dollars as compared to an attorney. I would highly recommend A People’s Choice for your probate needs. It’s cost effective, and they handle the entire process from beginning to end!”
C.K..
“Probate itself is a frustrating and expensive process. A People’s Choice was professional and courteous throughout a long probate process. Everyone I came in contact with at A People’s Choice was exceptionally helpful, patient, and professional. For those entering into the probate process, I must warn you that it is difficult to understand. The staff at A People’s Choice makes it as tolerable you could wish for.  The people who work there were kind, efficient, and understanding.  If you email your questions, they’ll get back to you and won’t make you feel like you are ignorant if you are unclear about any part of the process.”
Marcel B
“I needed help understanding and filling out legal documents, but I didn’t have enough money to pay for an attorney. After searching the internet, I found A People’s Choice. I was relieved to know that I would get the exact service that I needed at an affordable price. The staff was very professional and helpful with my legal documents. They worked around my schedule and responded to my emails in a timely manner. They took care of all the paperwork and filing and kept me posted. I would highly recommend A People’s Choice for your legal documents as you will get outstanding service at an affordable price.
Sharon B.
“After not having my call returned from a probate lawyer, I looked into doing a Spousal Property Petition myself.  A People’s Choice assisted me through the whole probate process and everything went smoothly.  When I appeared in court, I didn’t have to say a word. The judge just said, “granted.”  Using A People’s Choice I saved thousands of dollars, and I’m so glad that probate attorney didn’t return my call.  I highly recommend A People’s Choice.”
Donna G.
“A People’s Choice walked me through the entire probate process. This company is very professional and helpful and 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 I would get an answer on Monday but lo and behold, I often got an answer within minutes! Thank you to the staff for your guidance and patience to talk me through such a difficult time. You made the process very smooth! Probably saved us about $10,000! We are very pleased and will be referring our friends/family to A People’s Choice!”
L. Garrett.
“I had hoped to have my probate process taken care of by myself to save money. After the fourth attempt to file at the Clerk’s office, I left in tears and faced the reality of hiring an attorney. I look on the internet to find one and came across A People’s Choice. They offered a price that was way below what attorneys charge! They guided me through every step of the process and wrote up all the paperwork so that all I had to do was sign. It was really an amazing experience. They are a pleasure to work with.”
D. Chase.
“Thank you so much for all your help through this California probate process.  By using your company instead of a California probate lawyer, we were able to cut our expenses dramatically.  Thank you for answering my many questions and for giving me a heads up on documents that could be prepared in advance in order to save time and money.  There was always someone available to help! Thank you again.”
Craig K.

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 to prepare 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 you to lodge the original will with the court at the same time you file the Petition. You may also need 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. A People’s Choice legal document assistant 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 may require you to print certain documents 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 complete.

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. You can find probate notes when you access the case online access portal. You can submit questions about probate examiner’s notes 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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