Probate FAQ

Introduction


Probate Court has original jurisdiction over actions concerning the establishment of the fact of birth, marriage and death, the estate of a deceased person, the will of an individual, the estate of a minor or incapacitated person, trusts, guardianship and conservatorships. Most probate matters are handled without a jury trial, but Probate Court does have the authority to conduct a jury trial.

What is Probate Court?

Probate Court is a court of general jurisdiction that includes, but is not limited to the following proceedings:

Where do I file a Probate Case?

Venue for Probate, Guardianship, Conservatorship, Minor Compromise (where no civil case exists) and Fact of Birth, Marriage, and Death cases is the Metropolitan Division- Justice Building located at 1215 Truxtun Avenue, Bakersfield, CA 93301

Can the clerks give me Legal Advice?

No, court employees may not give advice as to which legal forms to use or how to complete the forms. There is a Self Help Center and a Law Library located at 1415 Truxtun Avenue, 3rd. Floor.

How do I get an attorney?

The Court cannot recommend an attorney. You may visit the California Court Judicial Branch website for additional information

What if I can’t pay some or all of the filing fees?

You may ask the court to waive all or some of the fees by completing the applicable fee waiver request forms, and if granted an order will be made as to the fees waived. Forms may be obtained in person in the Probate Department or you may visit the California Court Judicial Branch website

Are you open during lunchtime?

The Offices for the Court are open during lunch with limited staff.

Does the Court provide a list of probated property?

The court does not provide such a list. Postings for upcoming petitions for sales of property can be found on a bulletin board located just outside the Probate Department.

How do I contact the Kern County Probate Referee?

Michael Burger is the Kern County Probate Referee; you may contact his office directly at 661-588-4381 or at the CA Probate Referees Association website.

What if I don’t agree with a Probate proceeding on calendar for hearing?

Objections must be filed by 9:00 a.m. at least two (2) days prior to the scheduled hearing. The Objection must be in proper format on pleading paper, and include the applicable filing fee. You may also appear and object at the hearing, a written objection may be ordered to be filed.

My case was denied without prejudice, what do I have to do to put it back before the court?

You must file a new petition.

FORMS


Where do I get Probate forms/packets?

The following packets are available and may be requested in person in the Probate Department or by mail:

  • Affidavit re: Real Property of Small Value
  • Conservatorship Proceedings
  • Guardianship Proceedings
  • Petition to Determine Succession to Real Property ($100,000 or less)
  • Petition for Probate
  • Spousal Property Petition
  • Establishing Fact of Birth, Marriage, and Death

Where can I find statewide forms?

You may visit the California Court Judicial Branch website for additional information.

CASE INFORMATION/PROBATE NOTES/COPY REQUESTS


Where can I check to see if a probate action has been filed?

To find out if an action has been filed, you may:

  1. Check online
    • Using the “Smart Search” locate the case number for which information is needed (see Search Tips to do this).
  2. Visit the Probate office
    • 1215 Truxtun Avenue 1st. Floor Bakersfield, CA 93301
  3. Request the information via mail
    • Superior Court of California County of Kern
    • Probate Department
    • 1215 Truxtun Avenue Bakersfield, CA 93301

How can I see probate notes on a case?

You may access case specific information on our website

  • Using the “Smart Search” locate the case number for which information is needed (see Search Tips to do this).
  • Locate and select the case number hyperlink for the case needed.
  • Scroll to “Other Events Information” and maximize the view by clicking on the (+) sign to locate entries, hearings, hearing notes and minute orders.

What are the copy fees?

The copy fee is $0.50  per page, if certified copies are required an additional $25.00 fee is due per document; exemplified copies are $50.00 fee per document. If you do not have a case number and a search is required that fee is $15.00. Files stored off-site will incur a retrieval fee in the amount of $15.00, or $20.00 if located in a warehouse.

How can I request copies via mail?

A written request will need to be submitted for copies, which provides the case number, date and name of the document(s) requested, your contact information, the fee, and a self-addressed stamped envelope. When requesting a copy of a will, a court order for production of the will or a certified copy of a death certificate of the decedent must also be included. Please make checks payable to Kern County Superior court.

GOING TO COURT


Can I appear telephonically to Probate Court?

Court call appearances may be made in accordance to California Rules of Court, rule 3.670, and arranged directly with CourtCall LLC.
CourtCall LLC may be reached by dialing 1-888-88-COURT or 1-888-882-6878 or http://courtcall.com/contact-us/
You must pre-clear your appearance by contacting Court Call at least five (5) COURT days prior to the hearing.

GUARDIANSHIP


How can I become the guardian of a minor?

You will have to petition the court for guardianship in the Probate Department, basic information about probate guardianships for children is contained in the Guardianship Pamphlet form GC-205. To obtain additional information regarding guardianship you may visit the California Court Judicial Branch website for additional information.

How does a guardianship terminate?

A guardianship ends when 1 of the following occurs:

  • The child turns 18
  • The child is adopted, marries, enters the military, or is declared an adult (emancipated) by court order
  • The child dies before turning 18
  • The court ends the guardianship.
You may visit the California Court Judicial Branch website for additional information.

CONSERVATORSHIP


How can I become the conservator?

You will have to petition the court for conservatorship in the Probate Department. To obtain additional information regarding conservatorship you may visit the California Court Judicial Branch website for additional information

Where can I find the Handbook for Conservators?

You can download the handbook from the Judicial Council's website Handbook for Conservators. The law says you must have a copy of this handbook.

What if I still have questions?

Information regarding Voluntary Mediation

Information regarding Professional Fiduciaries Professional Fiduciaries

If you still have questions, e-mail the Probate Department including the case number in the subject line at: E-Mail Probate


Superior Court of California, County of Kern court employees are prohibited from giving legal advice per section 24004 and 68082 of the Government Code. In addition, court employees may not give advice as to which legal forms to use or how to complete the forms.