A seminal question in trust and probate disputes is deciding which Court has the authority to decide a disputed estate case. This is called "jurisdiction." In Placer County, California, just as in all states, estate litigation is subject to jurisdictional limits. Jurisdiction is the power of a Court to hear and determine proceedings. If the Court does not have the authority to hear the estate dispute, the next question is: Which Court does have the power?
Jurisdictional limits or Judicial Authority may relate to geography, citizenship of the parties, location of the parties, the Court's ability to apply relief, location of estate assets and subject matter of the controversy. Superior Court judges, whether sitting in Probate Court or Civil Court, first face their own issue of authority. Do they have the authority to decide the disputes filed in their Court and to issue the orders that are sought by the plaintiff, petitioner, defendant or respondent?
A California Superior Court - whether it's located in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Roseville, or Sacramento, has jurisdiction over a decedent's estate when (1) there has been an actual death; (2) the decedent, at the time of his or her death (a) was domiciled in California (lived in California); or left property in California; and (3) proper notice to interested parties is published. If the decedent was not domiciled in the state at the time of his or her passing, the Court possesses no jurisdiction (power) to appoint a personal representative for the estate unless the decedent had owned property in California.
The California Probate Code provides exclusive subject matter jurisdiction (power) over the internal affairs of a trust. The internal affairs of a trust apply to a broad spectrum of activities. The Probate Court in Placer County is very active and handles a large number of probate and estate cases.
Placer County is on the eastern edge of California's Central Valley. Its 2016 population is estimated to be nearly 400,000 people. There is one Superior Court in Placer County with three branches - the branch on Justice Center Drive in Roseville - the branch on Maple Street in Auburn and the branch on North Lake Boulevard in Tahoe City.
The six incorporated Cities that are a part of Placer County and are subject to Placer County Superior Court jurisdiction include City of Auburn, City of Colfax, City of Lincoln, City of Roseville, City of Rocklin and the Town of Loomis. Placer County's major unincorporated areas include Applegate, Foresthill, Penryn, Granite Bay, Tahoe City, Newcastle, Homewood and Carnelian Bay.
Hackard Law's trust litigation attorneys regularly represent clients in the Placer County in trust and estate disputes, including:
Interpretation of testamentary documents
Lack of testamentary capacity
Preparation and analysis of trustee's accounting
Pursuing or preventing termination of trusts
Petitions for interpretation of trusts
Petitions for determination of heirs
Resignation or removal of trustees
Validity of wills or codicils
Will forgery claims and cases
Our probate litigation lawyers can help family members in estate, trusts, will and probate litigation in Placer County, California. We always look to answer the first question: Does the Placer County Superior Court have legal authority over the matters to which it is asked to decide? If not Placer County, then where?
At Hackard Law we assist our clients with issues that are often subject to the jurisdiction of the Placer County Probate Court. If you are facing these and other California Probate Court estate and will issues, don't hesitate to call us today at (916) 313-3030.