Probate Court – Guardianships Print this Page
Phone: (415) 444-7040
Location: Civic Center, Hall of Justice, Room 113
Office Hours: 8:30am - 3:30pm

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.


The 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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