Probate & Conservatorship/Guardianship

General Information

The Probate Department of the Court handles decedents’ estates, trusts, conservatorships and guardianships. The Probate Department also hears petitions to establish the fact of birth, death, marriage as well other miscellaneous probate petitions.


Contact

Clerk Phone: (707) 207-7341

Court Investigators: (707) 207-7390

Hours: Mon - Fri: 8 AM - 12 PM & 1 PM - 4 PM

Pre-Grants: (707) 207-7331

Hours: Mon - Fri: After 5 PM the night before your hearing

phone and visiting hours exclude court holidays | holiday schedule


Visit
Hall of Justice
600 Union Ave,
Fairfield CA 94533

Office Hours: Mon - Fri: 8 AM - 3 PM. Drop box filings are open 7:30 a.m.- 5 p.m. daily. All other filings are by appointment only. To schedule an appointment visit familydivision@solano.courts.ca.gov or call the above contact number.

phone and visiting hours exclude court holidays | holiday schedule


FAQs

Probate is a proceeding in which an executor (if there is a will) or an administrator (if there is no will) is appointed by the court as personal representative to collect the assets, pay the debts and expenses, and then distribute the remainder of the estate to the beneficiaries (those who are entitled to inherit), all under the supervision of the court. The entire proceeding will take from approximately nine months to one and a half years from the time of filing to the final distribution.

If the deceased person’s property is worth more than $166,250, you may have to go to court and start a probate case.

To do this, you must file one of these petition forms (DE-111)

Petition for Letters Testamentary

Petition for Letters of Administration with Will Annexed

Petition for Letters of Administration

Petition for Letters of Special Administration

You will also need to file (DE-121) to get a hearing date.

You may be able to use a simple form (DE-221) called a Spousal Property Petition, to get a court order that says what your share of the community property is and what part of your deceased spouses’ share of community and separate property belongs to you. You will also need to file  (DE-120) to request a hearing date.

The person who has the will at the time of the person’s death is the custodian of the will.
Pursuant to Probate Code Section 8200 the custodian has 30 days to lodge the original will with the Probate Clerk’s Office:

Hall of Justice
Family Law, Probate and Adoption Division
600 Union Avenue
Fairfield CA 94533

The custodian must also send a copy of the Will to the Executor. If the custodian does not do these things, he or she can be sued for damages caused.

If there is no will and a court case is needed, the court will appoint an Administrator to manage the estate during the probate process. The person who wants to be the administrator must file a Petition for Letters of Administration. The Administrator usually is the spouse, domestic partner or close relative of the deceased person.

  1. The probate clerks sets a hearing date.
  2. The petitioner must give notice of the hearing to anyone who may have the right to get some part of the estate. The petitioner cannot be the one to mail the notice. It must be mailed by any other adult.
  3. A Court Probate Examiner reviews the case before the hearing to see if it was done correctly.
  4. Check the Probate Notes & Pre-Grants page after 2:00 p.m. on the day before the hearing date.

Petition to Determine Succession to Real Property (Estates of $166,250 or Less) You can reference Probate Code Section 13151. You must file documents with the court and get an order.

Forms needed to get started: DE-310, DE-160, DE-120 and DE-315.

Total estate is $55,425 or less, real property only. You can reference Probate Code Section 13200. You must file with the court but no order is required.

Forms needed to get started: DE-305, DE-160.

 

Contact a qualified probate attorney to review your specific situation
and to advise you whether a probate is necessary. An attorney can give
you detailed instructions as to how to change the title to assets and
collect benefits, and assist in preparing any documents you may need.
Most importantly, an attorney can represent you in court if a probate is
necessary, and make sure you do not violate your fiduciary duty to the
beneficiaries. You can contact the Solano County Bar Association Lawyer
Referral Service at (707) 422-5087.

Guardianship is a court process by which a person other than a parent is given custody of a child or authority over a child’s property. Appointment as a guardian requires the filing of a petition and approval by the court. If the court appoints you as a guardian for a child, you will assume important duties and obligations. You will become responsible to the court. It is essential that you clearly understand your duties and responsibilities as a guardian. If you have any questions, you should consult with an attorney who is qualified to advise you on these matters. A Guardianship packet is located in the Family Law and Probate Division Clerks office, in either Fairfield or Vallejo.

A legal guardian is an adult to whom the court has given authority and
responsibility to provide care for a child, or to manage the child’s
assets, or both.

Relatives, friends of the family, or other interested persons may be considered as potential legal guardians.

  1. Before you file a petition for guardianship, you should consider the following:
    1. Is the guardianship really necessary?
    2. Have you considered the alternatives?
    3. Do the parents consent to the guardianship?
    4. Without parental consent, is there enough evidence for you to prove the need for a guardianship?
    5. Do you need legal advice or assistance?

Click here for the Guardianship of the Person Only packet.