Most Executors have a hard time giving up possession of a decedent’s original will. However, by law, the custodian of an original will must lodge a will with the Superior Court within 30 days of learning of the testator’s death. This is a statutory requirement under California Probate Code Section 8200. Keep in mind, the custodian can face legal penalties if they do not lodge a will in a timely fashion.

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Get help to Lodge a Will and File Probate!

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When you lodge a will, you deposit the original will with the probate court. The holder of the decedent’s original will (along with any codicils or amendments) should deliver the original will documents to the court clerk in the County where the testator last resided. For example, if the decedent lived in Long Beach, California, the original will would be lodged with the clerk of the Los Angeles Superior Court. The custodian will have to find the proper Los Angeles Superior Court branch location by using the decedent’s zip code. A quick check on the court’s website will detail the place where you need to lodge a will based on the decedent’s residence.

The custodian must also provide a copy of the will to the Executor of the estate and make a copy for themselves. The custodian can mail a copy of the will to the Executor. If the Executor’s whereabouts are unknown, the custodian can send a copy of the will to a beneficiary named in the will. Court fees for lodging a will typically start at $50. Some courts do not charge a fee to lodge the will. Keep in mind, the will is deemed a public record once it is filed. Any interested party can request a copy of the lodged will by paying a copy fee to the Superior Court Clerk.

At A People’s Choice, we can help you lodge your loved one’s will and complete the probate process at an affordable price. Contact us today to get started. Read on to learn more about where and how to lodge a will with the county court clerk and the court forms you will need to file probate.

Steps to Lodge a Will in California

Although the custodian can lodge the original will on its own, usually the will is deposited with the court when the personal representative files a Petition for Probate. In this regard, you can lodge a will at the same time you submit the probate Petition DE-111 and related documents required to open probate.   As mentioned above, when you file the probate petition, take the original will to the court clerk. The court clerk will receive the original will and give you a receipt. They will also file the probate petition and set a date and time for a hearing. At the hearing, the judge will either accept or reject the will.  The court will set the initial hearing usually within 45 to 60 days from when you lodge a will and file the probate petition. For more information about the steps to file probate, you may want to reach this other article on the subject.

Before the scheduled probate hearing, the probate examiner will review the petition and will. In this regard, the judge will either accept or reject the will based on the examiner’s report. If the judge accepts the will, probate will officially open.

Contact A People’s Choice if you need to lodge a will and file probate. Using our cost-effective non-attorney probate services will save the estate thousands of dollars compared to using an attorney. Call us today at 800-747-2780.


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