You may not be aware of this legal requirement but according to California Probate code section 8200, when a person is in possession of an original Will, that original Will must be lodged within 30 days following the decedent’s passing if no probate proceeding has been opened. The Will must be lodged in the Superior Court in the county where the decedent passed away or the county where they resided. If probate is not required, then the clerk of the court may charge a $50.00 filing fee. A copy of the Will must be mailed or delivered to the named executor in the Will.
You may ask, “What does the word "lodge" mean?” Lodge is a fancy word for “filing.” Basically, you are filing the original with the superior court. The clerk of the court will keep the original Will on deposit. If you wish to view the original Will after it has been lodged with the court, then it is available after the proper documents have been submitted to the court.
If you have questions about what to do with a loved one’s original Will, please call our office at (714) 282-7588 and one of our experienced estate planning attorneys at the Law Office of James F. Roberts & Associates, APC, will be pleased to walk you through this process.