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Due to the current coronavirus shutdown in the San Francisco Bay Area, the following is the current status of ex parte petitions in San Mateo County Probate Court:

  1. Petitions are to be filed through e-filing;
  2. Due to reduced staffing in the Court, there is no guarantee as to if or when a petition will be processed through e-filing.  Reduced staff have multiple responsibilities that will slow down the entire process;
  3. Currently the Probate Judge is considering ex parte petitions in the order they are submitted.  This could stop at any time, creating a backlog of petitions;
  4. I can only know if a petition has been received and filed if I get notified through my e-filing service, and a copy of the filed petition is sent to my inbox.
  5. Once accepted and filed, I do not know if or when the Probate Court will entertain the petition.  I have been informed by the staff attorney that I will only be contacted if there is an issue with a petition, but I will not be contacted if the petition has been granted and the Order signed by the Court;
  6. To that end, I have been advised to send a letter to the Probate Clerk with a stamped, self-addressed envelope and a check in an amount sufficient to cover the fees for as many certified copies of the Court order are required.  I cannot determine if or when the Probate Clerk’s office will process my letter request and prepare and send back any certified copies needed.  It could be a few business days or weeks.
  7. Currently, it appears that turnaround time from submission of petition to obtaining certified copies of court order is from 8-14 court days.

To that end, here is the approach I am taking with ex parte petitions through San Mateo County:

Engage my services to prepare and e-file your petition so that it is already submitted and in the “queue” for consideration by the Court, with no actual knowledge of the time it will actually be considered.  This would be followed up a few days after the Clerk acknowledges the filing and assigns a case number, with the letter and check referenced above.  There would be out-of-pocket costs of $465.00 for the filing fee plus an additional $21.92 for electronic case fees (payment service fees, provider service fees, and e-file fees), for a total of $486.92.   I would retain the remainder of fees deposited into my trust, while reimbursing myself from those fees for the $486.92 I paid directly to file your petition.