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General Information

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Probate is the court-supervised process for identifying and gathering a decedent’s assets, paying taxes, debts, and expenses and distributing the balance to beneficiaries.

A conservatorship is a court proceeding where a judge appoints a responsible person or organization to care for another adult who cannot care for him/herself or his/her finances.

Before letters of conservatorship can be issued by the clerk, a proposed conservator must view a video and have read the Handbook for Conservators, now available online.

Guardianships are protective proceedings where the court gives a responsible person the custody of a minor or power to manage the minor’s property, or both.

The forms to initiate a guardianship case are available in our Guardianship self-help page.

Wills - The clerk's office will accept wills after the person who wrote it is deceased. There is a $50 fee for lodging a will with the court.

The following applies to wills, trusts, conservatorships and guardianships:

The filing fee for a petition for probate is listed on the court’s fee schedule.

For anything requiring a hearing, an additional $30 fee for court reporting services lasting under one hour is required pursuant to section 68086(a)(1)(A) of the Government Code.

All probate matters are filed and heard at the Civil & Family Law Branch in San Luis Obispo.

Civil & Family Law Branch
1050 Monterey Street
Room 220
San Luis Obispo, CA 93408
Phone: (805) 706-3600

Probate Appeals

In an appeal, a higher court reviews the order or judgment of a lower court. Any party may appeal from an unfavorable decision based upon whether there was enough evidence to support the judgment or whether errors of law were committed during or before trial which harmed the appealing party.

The fee for filing an appeal on a Superior Court decision is $775.00. The clerks do not have forms for filing an appeal.

On a decision of the Superior Court, the notice of appeal must be filed within 60 days after the mailing or personal service of the entry of judgment. If a Notice has not been mailed or personally served, the appeal period is 180 days from the entry of judgment by the court. Permission to file late is rarely given. Filing of a notice of appeal does not stop enforcement of the judgment. You must still comply with all court orders.

Frequently Asked Questions

There are many situations where an estate does not require formal probate. Even when formal probate is not required, some form of legal process is often necessary. This is especially true when an estate owns an interest in real property.

The fee for filing a Petition for Probate is $435.00. The fee for filing an Objection or Response to a Petition for Probate is $435.00. Certain subsequent petitions relating to probate are also $435.00. Please refer to the fee schedule for updated fee changes.

For anything requiring a hearing, an additional $30 fee for court reporting services lasting under one hour is required pursuant to section 68086(a)(1)(A) of the Government Code.

These are tentative rulings on the Probate cases that are set for hearing. Visit our Tentative Rulings page.

The Court aims to post the first version of the Probate notes within a week of the hearing date and update the notes in response to any filings within the day prior to the hearing.

New cases are set for a hearing 4 to 5 weeks in the future to allow for publication of Notice of Probate. Any other requests that must go before the judge are usually set within 10 to 12 weeks of the date of filing the paperwork with the court.

Electronic submission of most filing documents in Probate cases, is available on the Court’s website.

Parties may appear remotely in most probate matters which are uncontested, and personal appearance has not been ordered by the Court, as provided for in California Rules of Court 3.670.

To access helpful Zoom information and Zoom links, please go to the Court’s website and refer to the page entitled, “Remote Court Appearances via Zoom”.

The certification fee is $40.00 plus 50 cents per page for the copy. ($40.50 for a one-page document). These documents will be issued, at your request, by the Probate clerk at the Civil & Family Law Branch in San Luis Obispo, after the initial hearing and after the court makes the order that the documents can be issued.

A petition and the necessary fees are needed to start a probate case. If there is an original will, it should be filed at the same time you file the petition. The forms are available on our Forms & Filing page.

The probate proceeding must be filed in the county where the decedent resided or owned real property.

You should visit the California Court’s self help website to see what possible procedures apply to your situation.

If the deceased person’s property is worth $150,000 or less and you have the legal right to inherit from the deceased person, you may not have to go to court to get the property. You should visit the California Court’s Self Help Website to see if this applies to you before proceeding. If you qualify, you may need a submit a special form that is available from this site or at the clerk’s office. Some banks have their own forms.

There is $50 fee to lodge a will with the court. The court accepts a will only if the person is deceased.

The court does not appoint attorneys for probate cases. You may hire private counsel of your choosing or contact the San Luis Obispo County Bar Association for a referral.

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