Probate Court – Guardianships Print this Page
Phone: (415) 444-7040
Location: Civic Center, Hall of Justice, Room 113
Office Hours: 8:00am - 4:00pm

Guardianship is a court process in which someone other than a parent is given custody of a child or when a parent or other person is given authority over a child's property. The child, called the "minor" or "ward," must be under the age of 18. A legal guardian is an adult the Court chooses to be responsible for and care for a child, manage the child's property, or both.

A guardianship of the estate allows the guardian to make financial decisions for a child, and is often filed when a minor is to receive a large monetary gift or inheritance. Both parents and non-parents can become guardians of the estate for children. In guardianships of the estate, the Court may require the funds to be placed into a blocked account in which withdrawals are allowed only with prior court approval.

The law requires that the Court conduct an investigation of anyone seeking to become a guardian. A court investigator performs this investigation and there is a fee for this investigation.

Temporary Guardianship

Temporary guardianship enables a person to have legal guardianship of a minor prior to the general guardianship hearing. It cannot be filed separately from a guardianship. There must be an urgent need to justify a temporary guardianship. Contact the Probate Examiner at (415) 444-7315 to set an ex parte hearing to be appointed as temporary guardian.


A guardian, once appointed by the Court, must complete several steps before the Clerk of the Court can issue Letters of Guardianship. The Letters of Guardianship are the documents that verifies you have been legally appointed to act as the guardian for a child. The steps are:

  1. Complete and retain a copy of the form Duties of Guardian and Acknowledgment of Receipt (Judicial Council Form GC-248). This form provides a summary of your duties and responsibilities;
  2. View the film, “A Real Challenge - the ABC’s of Guardianship”;
  3. Complete local form FL033/PR033 - Declaration of Proposed Guardian’s Viewing of Film to verify that you have viewed the video and file it with the Clerk of the Court.

Additional instructions and forms required to open a guardianship case can be accessed by clicking here.

Further assistance is available from the California Courts Online Self-Help Center.


The Probate Court has jurisdiction over the following types of matters:

  • Decedent's Estate and Trusts
  • Guardianships
  • Conservatorships [including Limited Conservatorships (developmentally disabled persons) and Lanterman-Petris-Short Act (LPS) Conservatorships)]
  • Other Probate Case Types (including Commitments of Developmentally Challenged Persons; Establishment of Fact of Birth, Death or Marriage; Minor's Compromise; and Riese Hearings)
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