California Probate Records
This entry was originally written by Dwight A. Radford, Thelma Berkey Walsmith, and Nell Sachse Woodard for Red Book: American State, County, and Town Sources.
The court that has jurisdiction over an estate is the superior court in the county in which the person resided at the time of his or her death. When a probate case is opened, the clerk of the court keeps a journal for that particular numbered file and maintains that file when the case is closed. Files can be searched at the office of the clerk of the superior court in which the probate occurred. Check for the file and then request the entire journal. The 'Petition for Final Distribution' is ordered when all of the legal requirements have been met and the estate is to be distributed to the heirs. Many counties have had their probate materials microfilmed, especially for the nineteenth century, with copies available at the FHL.