The Probate Clerk handles decedents' estates, guardianship of minors, and
conservatorship of adults who are unable to provide for their personal
or manage their financial resources.
PROBATE MATTERS ARE HANDLED:
- Santa Barbara Superior Court
1100 Anacapa Street
P.O. Box 21107
Santa Barbara, CA 93121-1107
Probate Clerk: (805) 882-4511
- Santa Barbara Superior Court
312-C East Cook Street
P.O. Box 5369
Santa Maria, CA 93456-5369
Probate Clerk: (805) 614-6414
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
COST OF FILING AND RESPONDING
A fee schedule is available online and at the Clerk's
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
The Probate Clerk handles decedents'
estates, guardianship of minors, and conservatorship of adults who
personal needs or manage their financial resources.
Probate cases are handled in the Santa Barbara Anacapa
and Santa Maria Cook Divisions.
Probate Examiners review all documents for content
and legal requirements before such matters are acted on by the Court
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.
The Court Investigators interview all persons who
are the subject of a petition for conservatorship before the appointment
if they understand the proceedings or have any objections. They also
interview them periodically after the appointment to determine if they
cared for properly.
investigate guardianships of the estate only. Guardianships of the person
are investigated by the Family Court Services or by the Department of
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
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.
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
- 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.
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.
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.
- Conservator Handbook
(a hard copy of the 200+ page Conservator Handbook is available for purchase for $20 through the Records Department): http://www.courts.ca.gov/selfhelp/seniors/handbook.htm
- Conservatorship Video
(a DVD is available for viewing by appointment at the courthouse. Please contact the Probate clerk for viewing.):
- California Courts - Wills, Estates, and Probate:
- California Courts - Guardianship:
- California Courts - Seniors and Conservatorship:
- Department of Consumer Affairs: http://www.dca.ca.gov/