The Probate Department of the Court handles decedents’ estates, trusts, and conservatorships. These matters are filed and heard in the San Bernardino Civil/Probate Division only. The Probate Department also hears petitions to establish fact of birth, death, and marriage as well as elder abuse petitions. These filings are also heard in the Victorville and Joshua Tree districts.
San Bernardino Civil/Probate Division: (909) 521-3388
Petitions are set for hearing at the time of filing. Hearing dates are not reserved ahead of time. Refer to the fee schedule for filing fees or complete a fee waiver. To access Fee Waiver forms please click here and using the pull down menu select “Fee Waiver” and fill out the appropriate forms. Please note that an additional Court Investigator fee may be ordered after the filing for Conservatorship of the Estate.
Per Local Rules of Court 20-603, all supporting papers for every petition must accompany the petition or be filed within a reasonably short time thereafter; furthermore, all conservatorship filings must be accompanied by an additional copy of the entire petition for the Court Investigator. To ensure that approved orders are returned promptly, parties must include a self-addressed stamped return envelope with their filing.
All Judicial Council forms may be purchased at the clerk’s office or obtained online from the Judicial Council website.
Ex Parte Petitions
Each Court has separate policies regarding ex parte petitions. Parties and counsel should contact the appropriate Probate Clerk for further instructions. A hearing fee may be due, refer to the fee schedule for filing fees. 24-hour telephonic notice must be given to those entitled thereto, unless the Court dispenses with notice for good cause. Proof of service of telephonic notice must be made at the ex parte hearing.
Consult with the Probate clerk in each Court for information regarding days, times and departments. Refer to the fee schedule for filing fees.
The Probate Research department will review all petitions and orders for content and legal requirements before they are acted upon by the court. The research staff will publish probate notes itemizing any legal deficiencies and making recommendations for the Court. Probate notes are generally available 2 weeks prior to the hearing date.The following is a list of commonly used acronyms in the probate notes:
- CI (Court Investigator): The office of the Court Investigator is responsible for interviewing individuals who are subject to conservatorship petitions and conduct regular reviews for the duration of the conservatorship
- DHS (Department of Health Services): While not limited to estate matters, the Department of Health Services will become a party in a probate action as a creditor when there is an outstanding balance due
- FTB (Franchise Tax Board): The Franchise Tax Board is responsible for administering two of California’s major tax programs: Personal Income Tax and the Corporation Tax
- RFA (Recommended for Approval): Parties and their counsel and expected to appear at all scheduled hearings, unless the probate notes indicate that the petition is "RFA"
Destruction of Filed Documents:
NOTE: Shredding/destruction of all Court documents filed and imaged before January 2011 will begin soon. All filed/imaged documents are shredded one year after filing pursuant to Court policy. Any filed original documents not retrieved timely will be permanently lost. (Wills and codicils lodged into the will vault will not be affected.)
Probating an estate occurs so that the court may supervise the processes in which legal title of real property is transferred from the estate of the person who has died, also known as the decedent, to his or her beneficiaries. The following is a list of petitions that may be used to probate an estate:
- Petition for Probate
- Spousal or Domestic Partner Property Petition
- Affidavit re Real Property of Small Value
- Petition to Determine Succession to Real Property
An Affidavit 13100 may be used to transfer liquid assets; however the guidelines presented through Probate Codes 13100-13115 must be met in order to qualify. The Affidavit 13100 is not filed at the Court and must be presented directly to the financial institutions where funds are being held.