Ca Probate California

How to Probate a Will in California?

Probating a will in California can be simple or complex.   It is usually simple, but can get complex in several situations:

a.   A beneficiary is disabled or on Medi-Cal.

b.   There is litigation involved.

c.   There are assets which are at risk for foreclosure.

d.   There are assets which are with the State of California Controller’s office or have escheated to the state.

e.   There are unusual assets like patents and copyrights.

f.    Someone has stolen money or other assets from the estate or decedent.

g.    A will is contested.

Contact us if you have any of the above situation.

Ca Probate California Glossary of Probate Terms Probate Definition Self Help Probate

Los Angeles Probate Court Glossary of Probate Terms

Name Description
Administrator The person who is appointed by the court to administer the estate of a person who died without a will.
Administrator with Will Annexed A person appointed by the court to handle and administer the estate of a person who died with a will, but this person was not named in the will to act as a personal representative.
Beneficiary An individual or organization to which a gift or real or personal property is make, or who will inherit from under the terms of the will.
Blocked accounts Cash or securities that are placed in a bank, trust company, insured savings & loan or insured brokerage account, subject to withdrawal only upon court order or statute.
Case Calendar You can access up to 14 days of the court calendar to find your court date.
Case Summary You can get a summary of your case. All you need is your case number.
Codicil An amendment or supplement to an existing will.
Conservatee A person determined by the court to be unable to protect and manage their own personal care or financial affairs, or both. A person who has a the court appointed a conservator.
Conservator A person or organization appointed by the court to protect and manage the personal care or financial affairs, or both, of a conservatee.
Conservator of the Estate A person who handles the conservatee’s financial matters – like paying bills and collecting a person’s income — if the judge decides the conservatee cannot do it.
Conservator of the Person Someone appointed by the court that cares for and protects a person when the judge decides that the person cannot provide their own care.
Defendant Cash or securities that are placed in a bank, trust company, insured savings & loan or insured brokerage account, subject to withdrawal only upon court order or statute.
Decedent A person who has died
Estate A person’s total possessions, including money, jewelry, securities, land, etc. These assets are managed by a fiduciary subject to a court order. Types of estates include guardianship estate, conservatorship estate, or decedent’s estate.
Executor The person named in a will to carry out the directions as set forth in the will. This person is the personal representative of the decedent’s estate.
Fiduciary A person with a legal responsibility safeguard the interests of another person, such as a guardian of the estate of a minor, a guardian, committee or conservator of the estate of an incompetent person, an executor of a will, or an administrator of the estate of a decedent.
Filing Court Locator You can find your filing location using a zip code.
Guardian A person appointed by the court to protect and manage the personal care or financial affairs, or both, of a minor.
Guardian Ad Litem A person appointed by a court as guardian of an child or other person to act on his or her behalf in a particular action or proceeding
Heir A person who would naturally inherit property through a will, or from another who died without leaving a will.
Holographic Will A will that is completely handwritten, dated and signed by the person making the will.
Intestate When used about a person, intestate means not having made a legally valid will prior to death; when used about property, intestate means not effectively disposed of by a legally valid will.
Irrevocable Trust A trust that cannot be changed at any time.
Letters The court document that establishes the authority to act as a guardian, conservator, or personal representative (executor or administrator). In decedent’s estates, an executor’s letters are designated ‘letters testamentary,’ and an administrator’s letters are ‘letters of administration.’
Limited Conservatorship A type of conservatorship for developmentally disabled adults.
Living Trust A revocable trust set up during the lifetime of a person to distribute money or property to another person or organization. Also known as an inter vivios trust.
Local Forms Forms created to standardize the preparation of documents in a specific court. Local forms usually can only be used in the court that created the form. They are different from Judicial Council forms that can be used in every Superior Court in California.
LPS Conservatorship A specific type of conservatorship, under the Lanternman-Petris-Short Act, which allows for involuntary detention and treatment of a person (the conservatee). This conservatorship is a result of mental disorder and the conservatee appears to be a danger to himself/herself or others, or is gravely disabled. The Public Guardian must file this matter.
Minor A person under the age of 18 who is placed in the care of a court appointed guardian.
Personal Property Anything owned by a person that can be moved such as money, securities, jewelry, etc.
Personal representative An administrator or executor appointed by the court to administer a decedent’s estate.
Petition A written, formal request, properly filed with the Court, for a specific action or order. The petition is a pre-printed Court form in some cases, or written in proper format on pleading paper in others.
Pro Bono Settlement Program A program which is operated by the San Fernando Valley Bar Association, and helps litigants settle cases free of charge.   You must sign up on the court’s calendar which is kept in Department 5.
Probate The legal process of administering a will. Also, the judicially supervised process for marshaling a decedent’s assets, paying proper debts, and distributing the remaining assets to the persons or entities entitled.
Probate Court The court that handles matters concerning wills and estates, such as the distribution of property or money to those named in a will. In California, the Probate Court also handles guardianships and conservatorships.
Probate Efiling You can create and submit the filing of your Probate case online.
Probate Notes You can find Probate Notes related to your case. All you need is your case number.
Property Anything that can be owned such as money, securities, land, buildings, etc.
Real Property Land and immovable objects on the land such as buildings.
Revocable Trust A trust in which the person making the trust retains the power to revoke the trust.
Small Estates A decedent’s estate may avoid probate and have personal property transferred directly to an heir if the decedent’s estate meets the requirements of California Probate Code § 13100.
Stipulation An agreement, usually on a procedural matter, between the attorneys for the two sides in a legal action. Some stipulations are oral, but the courts often require that the stipulation be put in writing, signed and filed with the court.
Successor Fiduciary he next person or organization appointed if a vacancy arises in a conservatorship, guardianship, or decedent’s estate because of the fiduciary’s death, removal, or resignation.
Testate It is the condition of a person who dies leaving a will; opposite of intestate.
Testator A person who makes a will.
Testamentary Trust A trust created by the terms of a will to manage assets given to the beneficiaries.
Trust An entity created to hold assets for the benefit of certain persons or entities, with a trustee managing the trust.
Trustee A person or organization that has been authorized by a trust to hold and manage property for the benefit of a beneficiary.
Trustor The person or persons who create a trust.
Ward A minor who has a guardian appointed by the court to care for and take responsibility for him or her.
Will A written document that leaves the estate of the person who signed the will to named persons or entities. The document should be made according to law (California Probate Code § 6100) and is filed in a probate court after the person has died.
Interpreter Request You can request an interpreter for your Probate case.


Probate Self-Help

Ca Probate California Change an Executor in California Executor executor of a probate estate How to Change an Executor in California

What happens if an executor dies in the middle of probate in California?

If an executor dies in the middle of a probate in California, he or she needs to be replaced with another executor.


  1.  Is there another executor named in the will?  If yes, that person can petition the court to be appointed, due to the death of the former executor.
  2. If there is no alternate executor named in the will, a Special Administrator can be appointed to complete the tasks of the deceased executor.
  3. Who can become a special administrator?  Any interested person can become a special administrator.
  4. Does the new special administrator need to be bonded?  Generally, yes, unless the only asset of the estate is real property.
  5. How much does it cost to change the executor of the will, of the executor has died?  Generally, special administration services are done on an hourly basis.  If there is no litigation, the procedure may take 10 hours, which includes preparation time, and the court appearance.


If an executor of the estate has died, you can use our forms to replace him yourself.  If you need legal advice regarding the forms, or need attorney consultation, you can ask us to assign you an attorney, who can sign a limited fee agreement with you for those special purposes.

Getting advice regarding removing and changing an executor is very valuable to the success of your case.   Email us on how to change an executor in California to


Ca Probate California Probate in California Probate On Your Own in California Self Help Probate in California

Is it possible to do probate on your own in California?

Many people ask us if it is possible to do probate on your own in California.  The answer is yes, with some qualifications.

You can do probate on your own in California, when there is a will, which waives bond.   If there is no will, or if the will does not waive bond, then the options in becoming an administrator fall into two categories:  1) Estate where the administrator is bonded;  2) Estates where the administrator’s access to the cash assets of the estate are restricted, and assets are blocked in blocked accounts.

When a proposed administrator cannot get a bond, appointment will be subject to creation of blocked accounts.  That is not always feasible, if there is a mortgage on the property.   Most bond companies, require that you be represented by an attorney, because it avoids many mistakes by the administrator or executor.

Getting professional help, when it is needed, is not expensive.   A special administrator can be appointed in an estate who can make distribution of assets easy at a later point.   If you are stuck in a hearing, or can’t get past the first hearing, please contact us for help.

Contact:  We can direct you to an attorney who can advise you, as needed, or based on a limited representation.

Ca Probate California Decedent's Estate Estate How to File Probate Probate Ca

Instructions on How to File Probate on Decedent’s Estate in California

Do you need instructions on how to file probate in decedent’s estate in California?  We are here to help.   Whether you want to act as an executor, or administrator of the estate, you can count on us to provide all forms necessary to file for probate.  We can help you get Letters Testamentary or Letters of Administration in any court in California.

Instructions by an attorney are included when you use our service.   Additionally, attorney consultation is also available separately at a charge if you need further instructions on filing probate in California.

Complete our in-take form, and indicate the type of help you need, and we will set you up right away.  Here is the link to the in-take form.