During the probate process, whether it’s decedents’ estates, trust proceedings, guardianship proceedings, conservatorship proceedings, or minor’s compromises, many documents are required to be filed electronically with the court. “Probate” is the official proving of a will. In order to successfully complete the probate process in Los Angeles, one must eFile (electronically file legal documents in the court system) the appropriate paperwork.
On June 5, 2017, the Los Angeles Superior Court mandated eFiling of probate cases. Los Angeles County probate eFiling can be filed using an electronic filing service provider (EFSP) like CourtFiling.net.
To begin the Los Angeles probate process, a petition needs to be filed in a California Superior Court in the county where the deceased was living prior to his or her death. Approximately 30 days after the filing, a hearing will be set by the court. Notice of hearing must be published three times in the local newspaper as well as mailed to every person named in the will, in addition to all legal heirs of the deceased. All named executors, including alternates, must also receive proper notice of the hearing.
When there is a will involved it must be self-proved unless it is “self-proving.” Self-proving is simply when a will have two witness signatures made under penalty of perjury. If the will contains specific language and signatures from witnesses, it is unnecessary for additional witnesses or statements to prove its validity.
All assets of the deceased that are subject to probate are the responsibility of the personal representative for the estate. The administrator or executor will handle all transactions that require the assets to be transferred into someone else’s name.
Once access to the funds of the estate has been obtained through the appointed administrator or executor, creditors will be paid including all bills and funeral expenses. Creditors will determine whether they have valid debts payable by the estate by submitting a claim form to the administrator or credit.
An account of the estate will be filed with the court once all these steps have been completed. A petition will summarize the estate and all transactions taken on behalf of the estate.
Please note that court procedures often change, so please contact the Los Angeles Superior Court to review. For example, as of December 5th, 2018, there are new requirements regarding electronic signatures and processing of court orders.
There are only a few exceptions to the mandatory eFiling of probate cases.
Exceptions to the eFiling rules include:
You can file the above exemptions by mail or at the Clerk’s Office of the Probate Division.
These probate eFiling requirements apply to Los Angeles probate lawyers only. Self-represented litigants are exempt from the mandatory electronic filing requirement, but are still allowed to do so.
There are many benefits to Los Angeles County probate eFiling that lead to it being mandatory. Proceedings are now more efficient and reliable. It has also improved the ability of the probate court to maintain and access probate records. eFiling has also eliminated a lot of travel to courthouses for the purposes of filing probate documents.
If you are having trouble eFiling, read our Los Angeles eFiling Guide, the Los Angeles Superior Court’s (LASC) Probate eFiling FAQs, and Probate eFiling Document Types and Fees.
Start eFiling in Los Angeles County Courts today by signing up or logging into CourtFiling.net. In an effort to help you transition to electronic filing, CourtFiling.net is offering the first 30 days of eFiling free!*