Information to ask about the Probate Court in Los Angeles County

Information You Have Always Wanted to Ask or Know About Probate Court in Los Angeles County (also known as the Los Angeles Probate Court) in here below:

What cases does the Los Angeles Probate Court handle?  

The Los Angeles Probate Court handles wills, probate, trust, guardianship, conservatorship, minor’s compromise, special needs trust and related elder abuse matters within the above categories. Do you need to probate an estate? Think of probate as the legal method of changing the title to a deceased person’s assets.  If the assets of the decedent are not in trust, and no alternative to probate was selected by the decedent or exists by law, then assets have to go through the probate court to be distributed to the heirs. You first need to determine if the asset is subject to probate.

If you want to change the account name of a decedent, the bank may tell you that you need letters. Letters is the court’s authorization for someone to take over the assets of the deceased person.

How can probate be helpful?  

Probate is helpful when you are looking to sell an asset or transfer it.   If you are selling a decedent’s home or trying to refinance a decedent’s home, the title company will require Probate Letters from you, to allow you to complete the sale. Probate Letters are obtained from the Los Angeles Estate Court.

Is probate necessary?  

Not always.   If the decedent’s assets fall below $166,250 (for decedents who die as of 1/1/2020), it is rare that there is probate.   However, if there are disputes about who will be the executor, or what asset should be in probate, or about whether the executor is doing his job, then there is likely to be probate court involvement.

What is the Probate court?  

When you are learning about Los Angeles Probate, you will first want to learn about its court system. Probate Court is a court that has the jurisdiction and ability to transfer title to assets of a decedent to others and to resolve disputes among beneficiaries and executors or trustees.  There are other types of cases also handled by the probate court, such as conservatorships and guardianships which are adjudicated there. In Los Angeles, the Los Angeles Superior Court handles Probate in about 10 departments in downtown Los Angeles, called the Central Court.

Who can probate a will? 

California law has a list of persons entitled to act in probate.   A spouse, a child, a family member, a creditor, an executor named in a will, a private fiduciary and the public guardian can file for probate.

What is a probate bond?  

A probate bond is an indemnity contract which protects the probate assets from the wrongdoing by the executor or administrator.  It works similar to insurance by the surety can go after the bonded person for any loss. A probate bond is a document filed in probate court evidencing the surety’s obligation on the bond. Unless a will waives a bond, the Los Angeles County Court usually orders a probate bond. There are limited circumstances where a probate judge may consider waiving the probate bond in Los Angeles, but those circumstances are few.

In larger cases, where it is difficult to bond people, we use professional executors, professional administrators and professional conservators who can qualify for very large bonds. Ask us for a referral to a private fiduciary.

Where to file for probate?  

Question: Do I file the probate petition in the Los Angeles County Probate Court? You need to file for probate in the County where the decedent resided at death.  Residency is determined 181 days of the year before death. For example, if the decedent was a resident of Los Angeles, you will file the petition for probate in the Los Angeles Superior Court.

How are probate attorney’s fees calculated in California?  

There are two types of probate fees in California.  Statutory Fees and Extra-Ordinary fees.   Statutory fees are set by the statute, and extra-ordinary fees are at the discretion of the probate judge. If we represent a beneficiary and not a fiduciary, the fee structure can vary and be more flexible.

Where is the Los Angeles Probate Court located? 

The probate court location addresses are below:

Central Probate Court Los Angeles: 111 N. Hill Street, Los Angeles CA 90012.

Antelope Valley Probate Courthouse: 42011 4th St W, Lancaster, CA 93534.

Probate Judges in Los Angeles

See the latest 2020 list of probate court judges in Los Angeles here.

What is a probate register of action?  

The probate register of action lists all of the probates filed within that county. You can find the probate register of action here if you know the case number. If you do not know the case number, you must start here first.

What is the probate docket?  

A Probate Docket is an accumulation of the case information about probate cases. It is also called the case summary. Los Angeles Probate case summary can be found here.

Where are the probate court records located in Los Angeles County’s central Court?  

Probate records are located at 111 N. Hill Street, Los Angeles CA 90012, or are in archives.   If you are in Lancaster court, they are located locally in Lancaster. There is also an archive of old probate cases directly across from the central probate court.

What are probate notes

Probate notes are questions by the probate attorney in the court which need to be answered so that the judge will hear your case.   They are answered by a document called a verified supplement to the probate petition. Learn more about Los Angeles County probate notes by calling us at 818.340.4479.

How do you process or handle a probate note in Los Angeles County Probate Court?

We can assist you in handling and clearing all of your probate notes. Our paralegals are available during the week for clearing notes. The LA Probate is our preferred courthouse.

How long do you have to probate a will?  

If you have been named in a will as executor, you must file the will for safekeeping with the court within 30 days from the date you discovered the death of the decedent and had knowledge of the will.

What does it cost to file for probate in California?

See the 2020 Los Angeles California probate fees and costs in our article here. The filing fee for filing a petition in 2020 is $435. There are also newspaper publication fees, bond and court referee fees, in addition to certified probate order and letters fees. Each time you file a probate petition, the petition can cost $435-$465.

How do I know when I have authority as an executor to collect the probate estate assets?  

When you receive Letters from the court, then you can collect the assets of the estate and title them in your name, as administrator/executor of the estate of Decedent. Letters Testamentary is a probate court form which is filed with the court and issued by the probate office after the probate court issues an order appointing an executor. It is actually Letters and not the Probate Order that is the authorization of the probate court to the personal representative to act in California. There are several different types of Letters: 1) Letters Testamentary; 2) Letters of Administration; 3) Letters of Administration with Will Annexed; 4) Letters of Special Administration. All Letters evidence an authority by the personal representative to act.

What types of authority is given to the executor or administrator by the Los Angeles probate court?

There are three different types of executor authority when you are in probate court:

  1. Authority of the Executor or Administrator with Full Independent Authority (IAEA);
  2. Authority of the Executor or Administrator with Limited Authority;
  3. Authority of Personal Representative with Special Authority conferring only certain powers to the special administrator.

News about the Probate Court:

Probate Court News: Courtroom and Judge Assignments Changed as of 07-02-2020: Department 79 probate cases will be heard by Judge Ana Maria Luna; Department 3 probate matters will be handled by Judge Paul Suzuki.

Mina N. Sirkin is a Board Certified Specialist Probate Attorney in Los Angeles County. She regularly acts as a Court Appointed Counsel for persons in probate, trust and conservatorships in Los Angeles County. Call our Los Angeles County Probate Law Offices in Los Angeles or Glendale at 818-340-4479 for all Los Angeles Probate Court matters.

Read the related article about the Los Angeles probate court here.

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