California probate is the time-sensitive and deadline-driven process of formally dissolving a deceased person’s estate. Since probate is overseen by state courts, judges and clerks must sometimes ask clarifying questions to ensure that a decedent’s estate is being distributed in accordance with local law. When these questions are formally presented to an estate executor, they are called “probate notes.” Understanding probate notes

Understanding the Importance of Probate Notes

When a state-appointed probate examiner reviews a probate petition, they will prepare a summary of the case before transmitting it to the presiding judge. Probate notes typically include information such as:

  • The full names of the parties involved in the case
  • A summary of reports and objections
  • Applicant errors
  • Unanswered questions

If the probate examiner or the probate judge believes that a petition has been improperly filed or must be amended, they may forward their probate notes to the executor who is responsible for making all necessary adjustments.

How to View Your CA Probate Notes

Probate notes can delay the adjudication of a case if the executor has failed to respond to the examiner or judge’s questions. If the executor is not prepared to address the deficiencies in an application, the case may be delayed, preventing creditors from being paid and heirs from receiving their inheritances.

However, probate notes are not especially difficult to obtain. Executors in Los Angeles County can typically view their probate notes online by following these instructions:

  1. Go to
  2. Navigate to “Online Services”
  3. Select “Probate > Probate Notes”
  4. Enter your case number, which should contain two letters and six numeric digits
  5. Review probate notes under the “MATTERS TO CLEAR” heading 
  6. Answer or respond to each note using the “Supplement to Clear Probate Notes” form
  7. After responding to each probate note with a supplement, complete Form DE-120 (Notice of Hearing)
  8. If you are the executor, send copies of the Supplement to Clear Probate Notes and the Notice of Hearing to the estate’s heirs and any other interested parties who have requested special notice of proceedings

Orange County allows executors and estate representatives to receive notifications about probate notes by text message and email.

How an Experienced Probate Attorney Can Help

Being an estate executor can be exhausting and challenging. While many probate notes are simple requests for clarification or additional information, initiating and managing probate proceedings can be as difficult as it is time-consuming—especially if creditors try to seize an undue portion of the estate or the heirs disagree with the terms of their inheritances.



Philip J. Kavesh
Nationally recognized attorney helping clients with customized estate planning guidance for over 40 years.
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