The Judicial Branch of California provides free access to forms to handle your own probate.
To start a new probate case or to challenge a new probate case, you’ll need to file a Petition for Probate by using the form at this link.
In many cases, when you file a Petition such as the Petition for Probate, you have to provide notice of the hearing date, location of the hearing and time for the hearing. You give notice by using the form at this link.
Once your Petition for Probate is approved by the Court, the two most important documents you have to get from the Court which empower you to carry out your duties to the estate are the Order for Probate and Letters.
Be sure and file the “Duties and Liabilities of Personal Representative” which you sign to acknowledge that you understand your obligations as the personal rep for the estate.
You cannot waive your obligation to inform the Court about the value of the property and exactly what property is part of the probate estate. Use the “Inventory and Appraisal” form. For some of the property listed on the Inventory and Appraisal form, you will need to have an independent third party report the value to the Court. That person, called a probate referee, is appointed by the Court from a list of qualified persons. To request the Court to appoint the probate referee, use this form.
If there is a sale of real property in the probate case, you can submit your offer to purchase it by using the “Bid in Open Court on Sale of Real Property“.
On the decision of which court to file your Petition for Probate and to handle the entire probate estate, you have to use the “Probate Case Cover Sheet – Certificate of Grounds for Assignment to District“.
Anyone can handle a probate case and you do not need an attorney to do it. However, as with many things, you still need to know what to do in order for the probate to go as well as it possibly can. When you need an attorney, call one with probate experience. Call Mitchell A. Port at (310) 559-5259.