Would you like to file probate in Stanislaus County? This article provides helpful tips in doing so. Contact us for more information about how to file probate in Stanislaus County.
Overview of Probate in Stanislaus County
Probate courts oversee the legal transfer and the administration of property of minors, deceased, and physically or mentally disabled individuals. When a person dies, all of his property held outside of a trust or other legal instrument is subject to probate. A family member or friend will have to petition the probate court to order for the deceased property to be transferred to his/her beneficiaries or descendants.
Property valued at $150,000 or less usually qualifies for California’s simplified probate procedures. This process is shorter than the traditional probate process. To use this process, the heirs or beneficiaries must file a request with the local probate court asking to use the simplified probate procedures.
Sometimes property can also be claimed by submitting a simplified affidavit. To use this process, an inheritor has to prepare a short document stating that he/she is entitled to a specific asset. This document must be signed under oath and then can be used to obtain the identified property.
How to File Probate in Stanislaus County
File probate in Stanislaus County by submitting a Petition to Probate with the local probate court clerk. Upon filing the petition, the Petitioner will have several things they need to do within a short amount of time.
- Filing the Petition. Upon the filing of the Petition, the probate clerk will set a hearing date.
- Notice. Once the hearing has been set, this triggers the Petitioner giving notice of the hearing. Notice must be given to any party interested in the deceased person’s estate. Refer to Probate Code §48 which defines who is an interested party.
- Proof of Service: Following the notice, the Petitioner must file a Proof of mailing that notice was properly given. The notice must be completed by a person over 18 years of age who is not a party to the case.
- Publication: The next step is arranging the required publication. The publication process is another type of notice and must be in a newspaper of general circulation in the county where the deceased person lived or owned real property. Once publication has been completed, proof of publication must be filed with the Court prior to the hearing.
- Review Examiner’s Notes: Prior to the scheduled hearing, the court file is reviewed by the Probate Examiner before the hearing. The probate examiner’s notes are then posted on the Court’s website. Once notes are posted, the petitioner has the opportunity to file additional documents as necessary to correct any defects listed.
- Hearing: If all is in order, the court will enter an Order for Probate and instruct the Court Clerk to issue Letters to the Personal Representative.
From this point, the estate is now officially in probate and will now have to be navigated through many other steps over the next 4 to 5 months before a Petition for Final Distribution can be filed. For example, an inventory and appraisal of the decedent’s non-monetary assets and debts must be completed. Once the assets and debts are identified, the probate referee will file the completed appraisal with the court. The decedent’s assets may need to be liquidated to pay outstanding debts including taxes. Remaining assets will be distributed to the decedent’s beneficiaries or heirs.
Where to File Probate in Stanislaus County
Probate cases filed in Stanislaus County are filed in the Clerk’s Office at: City Towers Courthouse; 801 10th Street, 4th Floor, Modesto, CA 95354. The probate hearings are also held at this same place.
Stanislaus County Adjudicated Legal Newspapers
Newspapers of general circulation in Stanislaus County are:
The Modesto Bee, 1325 “H” St., PO Box 5256, Modesto, CA 95352
Oakdale Leader, 122 S 3rd Ave, PO Box 278, Oakdale, CA 95361
Hughson Chronicle, P.O. Box 130, Hughson, CA. 95307
Ceres Courier, 2940 4th St., Ceres, CA 95307
Turlock Journal, 138 S Center St., Turlock, CA 95380
Waterford News, 12717 Bentley, Waterford, CA 95386
Riverbank News, 6622 3rd St., PO Box 887, Riverbank, CA 95367
Patterson Irrigator., 26 North 3rd St., Patterson, CA 95363
West Side Index, 1021 Fresno, Newman, CA 95360
Keep in mind that there are strict rules regarding which newspaper can be utilized in a particular case.
Policies and Procedures of Stanislaus Probate Court
Although certainly not an all-inclusive list, the following are things to be aware of when you file probate in Stanislaus County.
- Stanislaus County uses the standard probate Judicial Council forms for probate proceedings.
- There may be other local forms required when filing a Stanislaus probate matter.
- The court does not appoint attorneys for Stanislaus County probate cases. Consequently, when filing a probate, you would need to hire a probate attorney (very expensive) or a non-attorney legal document assistant that handles probate matters.
- Stanislaus County requires a special cover sheet when lodging wills. You may also need to pay an extra $50 fee.
- The probate court clerk can be contacted at 209-530-3100 between the hours of 8:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m., Monday – Friday.
- Unless probate notes state otherwise, an appearance is required in probate matters.
- Online case inquiry is available for all Stanislaus County probate matters.
- Appearing by phone at probate hearings through CourtCall may be an option.
Local Rules For Probate in Stanislaus County
Rules governing Stanislaus County probates are outlined in Rule 8 and it’s subparts. In order to avoid any unnecessary delays, it is important to be familiar with the local rules when you file probate in Stanislaus County.
Probate Examiner’s Notes for Stanislaus Probate Cases
Probate Examiner, Nina Wendt, may be reached at 209-530-3180. Due to the volume of calls received by the Probate Examiner, it may be necessary for you to leave a message. Telephone calls are returned daily at 11:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. In addition, you can mail correspondence to the Probate Examiner at 801 – 10th Street, Sixth Floor, Modesto, CA 95354. Alternatively, correspondence can also be put in the examiner’s Drop Box at the security check-in station. This station is on the sixth floor of the City Towers Courthouse, 801 – 10th Street, in Modesto.
A late filing fee of $25 per document is charged for any document or supplement received for filing less than five (5) Court days before the hearing. If a document is being filed late, the filing party must deliver copies of all late filed documents and proof of late fee payment to the Probate Examiner by placing a file-marked copy in the Probate Examiner’s drop box. File-marked copies must be given to the examiner at least three (3) Court days before the hearing. If this is not done, the late filed documents may not be reviewed prior to the hearing and may cause the matter to be continued.
Probate Referees Serving Stanislaus County
When you file probate in Stanislaus County, your case will most likely require the appointment of a probate referee. The job of the probate referee is to appraise and value all the non-cash probate assets. At present, there is only one probate referee that services Stanislaus County.
Steven G. Pallios
1601 I Street, Suite 400
Modesto, CA 95354
Phone: (209) 571-3251
FAX: (209) 526-3534
You Don’t Need to Hire an Attorney to File for Probate in Stanislaus County
Despite common belief, you do not need to hire an attorney to probate an estate in Stanislaus County. Probate fees for attorneys are high in relation to the amount of work they actually do. Attorney fees are statutorily defined. Fees are based on the gross value of the estate and not the amount of work the attorney performs.
Most people are capable of completing the probate process without hiring an attorney. If you occasionally need legal advice from an attorney, request hourly legal assistance to avoid statutory fees.
A People’s Choice can help you prepare the legal documents you need to file for probate in Stanislaus County. Use our flat fee legal services to save time and money. Filing probate in Stanislaus County does not have to break the bank. If you need help to file probate in Stanislaus County, contact A People’s Choice. You will save thousands of dollars using our non-attorney Stanislaus County probate services as compared to using an attorney. Unless your probate case is contested, you probably do not need to have attorney representative. A People’s Choice has assisted thousands of people to complete their California probate and save the beneficiaries thousands of dollars. Call us today at 800-747-2780 and find out how we can help you too!
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