The Probate Division handles decedents’ estates, guardianship of minors, and conservatorship of adults who are unable to provide for their personal needs or manage their financial resources.

The Probate Examiner reviews all documents for content and legal requirements before such matters are acted on by the Court at calendared hearings or 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 Investigator interviews persons who are the subject of a petition for conservatorship before the appointment is made, to determine if they understand the proceedings or have any objections. They are also interviewed periodically after the appointment to determine if they are being cared for properly.

The Court Investigator or CPS also investigate guardianships of minors. The Court Investigator may be reached at (209) 992-5696.

Probate cases generally fall into three categories:

Probate of wills, trusts, and estates:

Probate is the court-supervised process by which someone’s assets are distributed and debts are paid after their death.


A judge will appoint a conservator when they determine through a court process that a person cannot take care of themselves or their finances.


The judge gives someone that may or may not be the child’s parent custody, of the child or the right to control the child’s property, or both.