There are several steps involved in the California probate process. From probating a will, to distributing assets, making sure you comply with each step throughout the probate process is critical. In particular, the probate examiner can help you address any discrepancies within the probate petition prior to the hearing. The probate notes will also identify issues the court requires clarification or further explanation. The probate examiner’s notes will help you properly supplement your probate documents. This ensures the court will have all facts necessary to make an informed decision on the probate proceedings. Read on to learn more about the importance of probate notes and the probate examiner.

What is Probate?

Probate is the formal legal process that involves validating a decedent’s will, if there is one, and confirming how the decedent’s estate is to be distributed. During probate, the decedent’s assets and debts will be gathered. Assets will be appraised and used to pay the deceased debts and taxes. The remaining property will be distributed as instructed in the will to beneficiaries. If there is no will, the property will be ordered distributed in accordance with California’s intestate succession laws. Contact A People’s Choice for information about how to probate a will in Ventura County.

What is a Probate Examiner?

A probate examiner is required to review all probate documents for content and legal requirements before they are reviewed by the court.  The examiner’s role is to make sure the probate petition is complete and contains all required information according to California law, local court rules, and other regulations such as publication and notice.

The examiner reviews the petition anywhere between a few days to several weeks before the scheduled hearing. The probate examiner will prepare a written summary of his/her findings known as probate notes. The probate notes the probate examiner prepares will state the deficiencies and identify other issues that may need further clarification. The probate examiner advises counsel and self-represented parties of the defects within their petition and recommends changes. Unfortunately some examiner notes are not available for review until a day or two before the hearing. This leaves no time to file supplemental documentation to address the examiner’s notes. As a result, it is quite common for a probate hearing to be continued to a later date to allow a petitioner to clarify matters brought up by the probate examiner.

What are Probate Examiner Probate Notes?

Probate examiner notes are summaries prepared by the probate examiner after reviewing a petition for probate.  The notes are presented to the probate judge to help him/her make a decision during the review of the matter. Probate notes include the identification of the parties involved in the matter, the relief being sought, summaries of reports and objections, and a listing of deficiencies in the petition or items that the court may need further information on. It is quite common in a probate proceeding to file a supplemental paperwork to address the probate examiner’s notes. Probate notes may be revised several times prior to a hearing. You should confirm with the probate examiner that you are reviewing the most updated notes.

How To Access Probate Examiner Notes

Every court has its own system for publishing probate notes on probate cases. Often these notes can be accessed online. Below are some convenient links to probate notes for a few of the courts we service.  This list is not representative of all the counties for which A People’s Choice provides probate services. If you need help locating probate notes on an existing case, we can help. We can also help with preparing any necessary supplements to address the probate examiner’s concerns.

Fresno County Examiner Notes
Los Angeles County Examiner Notes
Marin County Examiner Notes
San Bernardino County Examiner Notes
San Diego County Examiner Notes
San Francisco County Examiner Notes
Stanislaus County Examiner Notes
Ventura County Examiner Notes

Helpful Tips Regarding Probate Examiners and Petition Reviews

Contact your local court prior to the hearing and request the probate examiner’s notes.  Doing so will give you the opportunity to review the probate examiner’s feedback before attending the hearing and file any necessary supplemental paperwork. If you do not understand the probate examiner’s findings, ask the probate examiner to give you more information. Even a late filed supplement may circumvent having the hearing continued. Do not go to court unprepared.

If you find yourself in charge of settling your loved one’s estate, you may be wondering the first step to take in doing so. Contact A People’s Choice for more information about probating an estate in California. We can help you prepare and file all the documents you need to probate your loved one’s estate.

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