Do you need to file probate in Sacramento County? Fortunately, you can file probate in Sacramento County without a lawyer. At A People’s Choice, we have helped thousands of individuals complete all the legal documents they need to successfully complete the probate process! Read on to learn more.
Contrary to popular belief, most people are quite capable of filing for probate on their own, albeit with the professional help of a registered legal document assistant. Attorneys are paid per a statutory fee schedule when probating an estate. The amount of pay receives is based on the gross value of the estate and not the amount of work an attorney puts into finalizing the probate. For example, an attorney will receive a higher fee to probate an estate valued at $900,000 in comparison to $675,000 even though the case may not require any additional work. At A People’s Choice, we can help guide you through the Sacramento County probate process and complete and file the forms you need with the local probate court.
Sacramento County Probate Overview
To file probate in Sacramento County, the decedent must have lived or owned property in Sacramento county to begin the process. The estate’s Executor or the decedent’s family member can petition to become a representative of the estate. Once the Court issues Letters of Testamentary or Letters of Administration, the process of completing an Inventory and Appraisal starts. The appraisal process requires interacting with the assigned probate referee who will complete the appraisal of all assets. Keep in mind, if there is a will, the estate’s representative must file or lodge the original Will with the Court within 30 days of the decedent’s death.
Forms Required to File Probate in Sacramento County
Some of the initiating documents required to start the probate process in Sacramento County include:
- A Petition for Probate and Letters Testamentary (or Letters of Administration)
- Order for Probate – DE 140
- Letters – DE 150
- Notice of Administration to Creditors – DE 157
There are typically numerous additional “attachments” to the Petition and other companion forms. Furthermore, as the process takes 7-12 months, additional forms are required throughout the various stages of the probate process.
Where to File Probate in Sacramento County
You will need to file probate in Sacramento County at the William R. Ridgeway Family Relations Courthouse. This division of the Sacramento Superior Court is located at:
William R. Ridgeway Family Relations Courthouse
3341 Power Inn Road
Sacramento, CA 95826
The business hours are from 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., Monday through Friday (excluding court holidays). Contact A People’s Choice for more information about our affordable legal services.
The Sacramento Superior Court offers online case access by name or case number. This online system allows you to view the court docket to see what documents are filed in the case and other case activity.
Sacramento County Probate Rules
Chapter 4 of the Sacramento County Local rules govern Sacramento County probate cases. Since these local rules contain requirements you must meet, You should familiarize yourself with these rules if you file probate in Sacramento County. Failure to do so will inevitably delay the processing and completion of the probate case.
For example, Local Rule 4.04 describes how you must identify people mentioned in the probate paperwork. In particular, all petitions that contain names and addresses of people entitled to notice must also include the status of the person who must receive notice. In other words, after the name, there should be a designation such as “heir,” “beneficiary,” or “filed request for special notice.” As you can see, these random and obscure rules can create all sorts of problems and delays in a probate case if the filed documents do not comply with them!
Adjudicated Newspapers for Sacramento County
Several different newspapers can provide the required legal notice for new probate petitions. Refer to the list on the court’s website. Keep in mind, however, that you cannot randomly select just any newspaper to complete the required publication. There are specific rules that control which paper is appropriate for the publication process. It would be unfortunate to spend hundreds of dollars to publish only to learn that you posted a notice in the wrong newspaper! A People’s Choice always arranges the publication for our clients to avoid any such problems.
Sacramento County Probate Examiner
The Sacramento County Superior Court has probate attorneys review all filed petitions and orders before any scheduled hearing. The probate examiner will determine if the documents comply with the content and legal requirements before the Judge hears the case. After review, the probate attorneys publish probate notes. These notes will list any discrepancies or legal deficiencies they find on the matter. In this regard, probate calendar notes are ordinarily available ten days before the hearing on the court’s public access site.
If the examiner finds a discrepancy, you will see a notation in the probate notes. For example, the examiner may pose a question or make a comment or statement. If you see the words “NEEDED” in your notes, you will need to respond to the probate examiner’s question or statement before the court hears the matter.
Responses to probate examiner notes are usually in the form of a filed Supplement. In this regard, it is essential that the Supplement conforms to Rules of Court 4.01. (See discussion regarding Local Rules above) For example, you will need to caption any written response to probate calendar notes with the words “Response to Calendar Notes.” In addition, the supplement must list each calendar note, and each note must be written in paragraph form directly below the corresponding calendar note. If a calendar note requests proof of a filed document, you must provide a file-stamped attached as an exhibit to the Supplement. Keep in mind, per the local rules, you should submit the Supplement at least five days before the hearing date for the court to consider the additional information.
Sacramento County Probate Referee
Three probate referees are assigned to probate cases filed in Sacramento County. For example, Nancy Ferguson handles all probate cases ending in 1, 2 & 3. James R. Tucker handles all probate cases with case numbers ending in 4, 5 & 6. Lastly, Richard E. Stover is assigned cases with numbers ending in 7, 8 & 9. If the assigned probate case number ends in 0 (Zero) you would use the next number to the left that is not a 0.
The probate referee will appraise all non-monetary assets of the estate. In this regard, the personal representative of the estate may need to sell assets may to pay taxes and debts. Once the personal representative pays all taxes and debts, they can petition the court to distribute all remaining assets to the beneficiaries and heirs. If the decedent died without a will, California intestate succession laws determine who is entitled to receive the decedent’s property.
How to Complete Probate in Sacramento County
Contact A People’s Choice for more information on how to file probate in Sacramento 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. Call us today at 800-747-2780.
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