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.

Forms: Guardianship forms are available in the Civil Clerk's Office. Required forms may include both Judicial Council forms and local forms. Judicial Council forms and local forms may be downloaded from the Court's web site. Please note that the Court requires the original and one copy of all documents pertaining to guardianship.

Other Resources: Basic information and complete forms online are available from 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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