September 23, 2017

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Probate

 Welcome to the Probate Division of The Superior Court of California, County of Stanislaus. Most people think of probate courts as working exclusively with wills and the financial affairs of people who have died. However, this division handles a range of issues involving adults and children such as guardianships of children, conservatorships of adults, mental health treatment, trusts, elder abuse and dependent adult restraining orders.

 

Probate Examiner
Decedent's Estates
Probate Referees
Court Investigators
Guardianship
Temporary Guardianship
Conservatorship
Temporary Conservatorship
Conservatorship Orientation Session
Adoptions

Probate FAQs Pamphlet

Probate Examiner


 

The Probate Examiner reviews all probate matters currently set for hearing, including decedent's estates, trusts, guardianships and conservatorships. In addition, the Probate Examiner reviews all ex parte applications in probate matters and makes recommendations to the judicial officer. The examiner posts probate notes on the Court's website which can be accessed by any member of the general public. The examiner is available to discuss defects in probate matters and methods to cure those defects with counsel or self-represented parties. Through daily calendar notes the Court is informed of the status of all matters. As corrections are filed, the calendar is updated and the appropriate recommendations are made for the Court's consideration.

The Court Probate Examiner is Nina Wendt. You can reach the Probate Examiner to inquire about procedural requirements or the probate notes found on this website by calling 209- 530-3180.

In addition, correspondence may be mailed to the Probate Examiner at 801 - 10th Street, Sixth Floor, Modesto, CA 95354 or placed in the examiner's Drop Box located at the security check-in station on the sixth floor of the City Towers Courthouse, 801 - 10th Street, Modesto, CA.

Decedent's Estates

Estates:

There are several types of probate proceedings that may be carried out by the Court on small and large estates. Please consult an attorney, paralegal or do some research at your local law library before filing.

Wills Lodged/Delivered to Court:

Upon the death of a person, the decedent's will must be delivered to the Court for safekeeping. As prescribed by Probate Code §8200, this must be done within 30 days of the decedent's date of death or 30 days after learning of the death. Effective July 1, 2012 a $50 fee applies when a will is lodged/delivered to the Court. When a will is lodged/delivered a cover sheet must be provided. For your convenience, the Clerk's Office has a cover page available for purchase or it can be downloaded on the forms page of this website. Wills must be delivered to the Probate Unit located in the Civil Clerk's office at 801 - 10th Street, Fourth Floor, Modesto, CA.

Hearings:

Probate matters will be heard Tuesday - Friday of each week at 8:30 a.m. Probate matters will be calendared for hearing by the Probate Unit located in the Civil Clerk's Office at 801 - 10th Street, Fourth Floor, Modesto, CA. All petitions and applications which require a hearing will be assigned a calendar date upon filing of the petition.

Forms:

Please see Forms page

Filing Fees:

Please see Fee Schedule

Probate Referee

The probate referee for Stanislaus County is:

Steve G. Pallios
1601 I Street, Suite 400
Modesto, CA 95354
Telephone: (209) 571-3251
Facsimile: (209) 526-3534

The State Controller’s website contains a Probate Referee’s Guide. This guide contains instructions on how to properly complete an Inventory and Appraisal and shows examples of how to list assets. The guide is available at:

http://www.sco.ca.gov/Files-EO/probate_guide.pdf

Court Investigators

Court investigators are employed by the Court to privately interview adults and children involved in conservatorship and guardianship cases. Court investigators explain the court process, the legal rights of the protected adults and children and the responsibilities of those who may be appointed to provide for and protect them. A report summarizing the interviews is written for the judge hearing the case. If a conservatorship is granted, the Court investigator regularly meets with the conservatee to determine whether the conservatee's needs are being met by the conservator appointed to manage their personal and/or financial affairs. If guardianship is granted for a child, the Court investigator may review the case to determine whether the guardian appointed to care for and protect them is fulfilling their obligations.

PLEASE, DO NOT BRING CHILDREN WHEN COMING TO DISCUSS THESE MATTERS

Guardianship

In California, a guardianship is a court proceeding where a judge appoints someone to provide physical care for a person under age 18 or to manage the minor's estate (property) or both. In some states, conservatorship of an adult is called guardianship, but not in California. A guardian need not be a relative of the child.

Temporary Guardianship

A temporary guardianship enables a person to have legal guardianship of a child prior to the granting of a general guardianship. It cannot be filed separately from a guardianship.

Note:

A copy of your paperwork is retained by the Clerk's Office for forwarding to the Court investigator's office.

Note:

The Community Services Agency investigates non-relative guardianships.

References:

For assistance in filing for guardianship, you may consult with an attorney, paralegal or law library. You may also want to check a guardianship handbook which may be available in your local library or law library. Guardianship guides are also sold in some bookstores.

Forms:

Please see Forms page

Filing Fees:

Please see Fee Schedule

Conservatorship

A conservatorship is a court proceeding to appoint a representative (conservator) to assist wtih the financial affairs or the personal care of a person who is either physically or mentally unable to handle either or both.

Temporary Conservatorship

A temporary conservatorship enables a person to have legal conservatorship of an adult prior to the granting of a general conservatorship. It cannot be filed separately from a conservatorship.

Hearings:

Hearings for conservatorships are scheduled approximately 45 to 60 days from the date the Petition for Appointment of Conservator is filed.

Note:

A copy of your paperwork is retained by the Clerk's Office for forwarding to the Court investigator's office.

Forms:

Please see Forms page

Filing Fees:

Please see Fee Schedule

Conservator's Handbook

All filing parties who have filed a Petition for Appointment of Conservator (including petitions for temporary conservatorship) must purchase the Conservator's Handbook before the Court will consider the petition for appointment. The handbook may be purchased from the Family Court Services division of the Clerk's Office located on the second floor of the courthouse at 800 11th Street, Room 221, Modesto, CA.

Adoptions

An adoption is the legal process whereby the natural parents' rights and duties towards the child are terminated by the Court and given to the adoptive parents.

A stepparent adoption is an adoption of the child by their stepparent.

Note:

It will be necessary to contact the Department of Social Services, Adoption Division for the investigation on stepparent adoption.
An adult adoption is the adoption of a person 18 years or older.

Note:

You may only adopt one adult per year unless the adoptees are siblings.

Termination of Parental Rights/Free From Custody is the legal process whereby the rights and duties of the natural parents are terminated by the Court.

Hearings:

Adoption hearings are set 15 to 20 days after filing the necessary papers and only after a report has been filed by the Department of Social Services.

Note: We must have all necessary documents filed in the case before the Clerk's Office will schedule a hearing. Adoption hearings are scheduled by the Family Court Services Court Clerk's Office located at 800 - 11th Street, Room 221, Modesto, CA.

Forms:

Please see Forms page

Filing Fees:

Please see Fee Schedule

You can also visit the Self-Help Center at the California Courts website at: http://www.courts.ca.gov/selfhelp.htm.

THE INFORMATION POSTED ON THIS WEBSITE IS NOT INTENDED TO CONSTITUTE LEGAL ADVICE OR TO TAKE THE PLACE OF THE ASSISTANCE OF COMPETENT LEGAL COUNSEL. YOU SHOULD SPEAK TO AN ATTORNEY OF YOUR CHOICE FOR SPECIFIC INFORMATION ABOUT THE FACTS OF YOUR CASE AND YOUR RIGHTS.

Last updated: September 14, 2017 12:32 PM