Probate e-Filing FAQ

Yes. Effective April 15, 2021, filings submitted by attorneys for represented parties in all probate actions must be submitted electronically through one of the court’s approved electronic filing service providers (“EFSPs”), with limited exceptions for certain documents (see below list of ineligible documents). E-Filing is also encouraged, but not mandated, for self-represented litigants in probate actions.

  • Original Wills & Codicils
  • Undertaking/Surety Bonds
  • Settlement Conference Briefs (to be lodged not filed, see SDSC Local Rule 4.22.10(D)).
  • Confidential documents lodged conditionally under seal pursuant to Cal. Rules of Court, rule 2.551 (although the motion to file under seal itself must be electronically filed).
  • Exhibits that are physical objects, which otherwise may not be comprehensibly viewed in an electronic format must be lodged and will not be filed.

These items must be filed in paper-form, in person or via mail or messenger service.

These petitions may be e-Filed and will not be rejected for lack of original will. The original will can be lodged/deposited with the court prior to the petition being filed, or after the petition is filed with a cover letter that includes the case number assigned to the petition. The original will must be in the court’s possession in order to admit the will to probate, and if the original will has not been submitted, it will be noted as a defect in the Probate Examiner Notes (Probate Notes), which are summaries prepared by the probate examiner for the court after reviewing your petition.

The hearing information will not appear on the face-page of the petition when it is returned to you. Instead, a Notice of Hearing will be generated by the court and returned with your petition.  Note: The court-generated Notice of Hearing does not replace the mandatory Judicial Council forms for noticing purposes.

The hearing information cannot be applied to the mandatory Judicial Council forms. The Judicial Council Notice of Hearing should only be submitted to the court once service has been completed.

It is preferred that your order be submitted to the court any time after the petition is filed and at least three weeks before the hearing is set. For ease of returning conformed copies, please provide an email address in the header of the form or pleading order submitted. If submitting an Appointment Order, please submit it with the corresponding letters, in one transaction. If a bond is required, an original must be dropped off or mailed to the business office.

Yes, you must include a Probate Ex Parte Coversheet (SDSC #PR-136) along with the ex parte petition, proposed order and declaration regarding notice. For appearances, the hearing date will be noted on a court-generated Notice of Hearing that will be returned to you electronically. For ease of returning conformed copies of the ex parte coversheet and order/letters, if any, please provide an email address in the header of documents.

The e-Filing system converts all standard document types (Word, WordPerfect, Corel, Lotus, TIF, JPEG, for example) into PDF upon upload. Documents submitted to the court’s e-Filing vendor must be in a format that is fully text searchable, i.e. Optical Character Recognition (OCR).

For detailed information on documents that are acceptable and additional formatting requirements, please see the probate e-Filing requirements in San Diego Superior Court Form PR-188 and San Diego Local Rules, rule 4.3.2.

The signature requirements depend on whether a document must be signed under penalty of perjury and/or requires the signature solely of the e-Filer or the e-Filer and another party (i.e. a stipulation.) Please see Code of Civil Procedure 1010.6, subdivision (b)(2) and Cal. Rules of Court 2.257 for information on signature requirements.

Notwithstanding the preceding statute and rule, Letters that are electronically filed must contain a signature of the appointed individual(s) in the affirmation section of the applicable form.

There is a 35 MB limit per document when uploading to the system. There is a 60 MB limit to the total files uploaded per order.

Your e-Filing service provider (EFSP) will provide you with an email confirming receipt of your submission along with a transaction identification number for tracking purposes.

No, courtesy copies are not required and will not be accepted by the courtroom or business office. Note: This does not apply to the lodging of original exhibits, when a Notice of Lodgment is e-Filed.

No. All documents should be filed as stand-alone documents.

  • Conservatorships
    • Petitioner(s)
    • Attorney (if applicable)
    • Proposed Conservatee
    • Proposed Conservator(s) – (only if different than Petitioner)
  • Guardianships
    • Petitioner(s)
    • Attorney (if applicable)
    • Minor(s)
    • Proposed Guardian(s) – (only if different than Petitioner)
  • Decedents’ Estates
    • Petitioner(s)
    • Attorney (if applicable)
    • Decedent
    • Proposed Personal Representative(s) – (only if different than Petitioner)
  • Trusts
    • Petitioner(s)
    • Attorney (if applicable)
    • Trust (With Role of Case Subject)
  • Other Probate Matters
    • Petitioner(s)
    • Attorney (if applicable)

*All parties listed above, except for the Decedent and Trust, should include a current mailing address.

**Do not include potential Objectors, Respondents, Beneficiaries, Heirs or other Interested Parties. These will be added to the case when and if they file a pleading in the case.

No. Punctuation such as periods and commas should not be included as part of a party’s name. If a party’s name includes a hyphen, this should be included. The court will delete any commas, periods, etc., which adds processing time to each transaction. Do not update party names that already exist in the case. This also slows down processing times.

Enter the alternate name by selecting the appropriate name from the drop down menu.

Contact your electronic filing service provider (EFSP) for updates.

Please refer to your e-Filing service provider’s (EFSPs) website for guidance on how to properly redact PDFs.

Improperly redacting PDFs may place you or your client(s) at risk of releasing sensitive case information. To maintain confidentiality and ensure all redactions are appropriately applied, it is imperative that you remove metadata. Metadata is hidden information embedded within a document that, with a few clicks, may reveal a document’s revision history, earlier drafts, information about the document author, file name, file path, date of creation, and so on. This information is still available and accessible, even if the document was converted to a PDF. It is your responsibility to learn more about metadata and how to remove it properly.