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Probate Division

The Probate Clerk handles decedents' estates, guardianship of minors, and conservatorship of adults who are unable to provide for their personal needs or manage their financial resources.

 

FORMS

Many Probate Court cases require the filing of multiple printed legal forms, in addition to documents that must be prepared in pleading format according to California Rules of Court, rule 2.100 . The printed legal forms are revised frequently, so make sure you have the most current forms. The forms are available at the locations above and can be printed from this web site. They are also available from the Judicial Council web site. You must read the forms very carefully and answer each question and fill in each blank if it applies to your particular estate. You must also be careful to include any attachments that are required by a particular form. Filing incomplete or incorrect forms can result in a delay in having your case approved, and you will be required by the Judge to file amendments or supplements to your documents until the Court has all the information it needs.

COST OF FILING AND RESPONDING TO COMPLAINTS

fee schedule is available online and at the Clerk's Office.


ROLE OF COURT STAFF

An understanding of the various court staff members who will be involved with your case and the different roles that each plays will help you obtain the information you need to make sure your case moves smoothly through the Probate Court.

 

PROBATE CLERK

The Probate Clerk handles decedents' estates, guardianship of minors, and conservatorship of adults who are unable to provide for their personal needs or manage their financial resources.

Probate cases are handled in the Santa Barbara Anacapa and Santa Maria Cook Divisions.


PROBATE EXAMINERS

Probate Examiners review all documents for content and legal requirements before such matters are acted on by the Court at calendared hearings or on ex parte applications, thereby substantially reducing the judicial time required to hear probate cases. The Probate Division reviews attorney prepared orders, sets cases, controls the calendar, and processes creditors' claims in estates.


COURT INVESTIGATORS

The Court Investigators interview all persons who are the subject of a petition for conservatorship before the appointment is made, to determine if they understand the proceedings or have any objections. They also interview them periodically after the appointment to determine if they are being cared for properly.

They also investigate guardianships of the estate only. Guardianships of the person are investigated by the Family Court Services or by the Department of Social Services.

PROBATE REFEREES


ATTACHMENTS

Sometimes a printed form will ask for documents or additional information to be attached, or will refer to an Attachment. If an attachment is required, you should staple a complete copy of the required document or a separate piece of paper containing the necessary information to the printed form. You should identify each document at the bottom of the page to correspond to its respective item number on the printed form (for example: Attachment 3(a) or Attachment 10). If the attachment consists of information typed on a separate sheet of paper rather than a document (such as a decedent's will), you should also include the title of the printed form at the bottom of the page in case the pages are pulled apart and separated. If the attachment is part of an order to be signed by the judge, you should include a separate line for the date and the judge's signature at the end of the last page of the attachment.


AMENDMENTS/SUPPLEMENTS

Amendment
An amendment may be filed as a separate document to correct incomplete or incorrect information in a document or printed form that has been filed with the Court. An Amendment should be prepared in pleading format with a title that identifies the document that is being amended (for example, Amendment to Petition for Appointment of Guardian of Minor). If the original document or printed form that is being amended was sworn to ("verified"), then the Amendment must also be verified. A sample Verification is included as part of this website.

Supplement 
A supplement is similar to an amendment and is used to add missing information that was not included in a document or printed form that has been filed with the Court. A Supplement should be prepared in the same manner as an Amendment.

Amended Petition 
If the amount of information to be corrected on a document or printed form is significant, it may be easier to file an Amended Petition that has been completely redone. An Amended Petition will usually require new notice to be given to interested persons, even if notice has already been given.


CONTINUANCES

If there are problems with the documents that cannot be corrected prior to the hearing date, your petition will have to be continued so that the problems can be corrected. The Probate Judge will give you a new date in court.


OBJECTIONS

Even if all of your documents are pre-approved or found to comply with applicable law and procedural requirements, objections may be filed by interested persons who have received notice of the hearing date. Objections may be filed prior to the hearing (which we strongly recommend) or the objecting party may appear at the hearing to object to the petition. In the latter case, the Probate Judge will continue the hearing so that written objections may be filed. If you are filing an objection to a calendared petition within 10 days of the hearing date, you should provide the Filing Clerk with an extra copy of your Objections so that a copy can be given to the Probate Judge.

Contact Information:

South County
Santa Barbara Superior Court
Anacapa Division
1100 Anacapa Street
P.O. Box 21107 
Santa Barbara, CA 93121-1107 

Probate Clerk: (805) 882-4511

North County
Santa Barbara Superior Court
Cook Division
312-C East Cook Street
P.O. Box 5369
Santa Maria, CA 93456-5369 

Probate Clerk: (805) 614-6414
 
© 2014 Superior Court of the County of Santa Barbara