- Is eFiling mandatory for all probate cases?
No, not at this time. The court encourages all parties to a probate case to eFile if document eligibility allows for it.
- What documents are ineligible for eFiling in a probate case?
In probate cases, the following documents cannot be eFiled:
- Original Wills & Codicils
- Undertaking/Surety Bonds
- Certified Death Certificates
- Settlement Conference Briefs
- Copy/Certification/Exemplification Requests
- Documents filed under seal or provisionally under seal pursuant to California Rules of Court, rule 2.551 (although the motion to file under seal itself may be electronically filed)
- Documents attached to a Notice of Lodgment
- Documents for cases ordered sealed
- Exhibits that are physical objects, which otherwise may not be comprehensibly viewed in an electronic format must be lodged and will not be filed
- Trial and hearing exhibits
- Affidavits re: Real Property of Small Value (form DE-305)
- Peremptory challenges or challenges for cause of a judicial officer pursuant to Code of Civil Procedure sections 170.1 and 170.3
- Subpoenas and subpoenaed documents
- LPS Conservatorship filings
- Elder Abuse filings
- Appeals filings
- How do I file documents that are ineligible for eFiling, if the rest of my documents are filed electronically?
Items ineligible for eFiling are filed in paper form in-person, via the court's drop box, by mail, or by facsimile.
- Do I eFile documents directly with the court?
No. Documents may only be filed electronically through an approved electronic filing service provider ("EFSP"). To view the list of approved EFSPs and to create an account, visit http://www.odysseyefileca.com/service-providers.htm. Each EFSP offers a variety of services and should be evaluated to meet your filing needs. The EFSP submits filings on behalf of the eFiler and is not an agent of the court. (Cal. Rules of Court, rule 2.250(b)(8).)
Once chosen, the EFSP will electronically submit documents on your behalf to the Electronic Filing Manager ("EFM"). The current EFM is Odyssey eFileCA. The EFM delivers the documents to the court's clerk review module for review, at which time a confirmation of the court's receipt of the electronic documents is created.
Thereafter, a clerk of the court will review the electronically submitted documents and either accept the documents for filing or reject the documents. If a documents is accepted by the court for filing, it is given an electronic file-stamp and is automatically uploaded to the court's case management system.
- Is eFiling the same as fax filing?
No. With eFiling, you must use an EFSP to submit documents electronically. Fax filing is governed by separate rules of court for fax filings, see California Rules of Court, rules 2.300, et seq., and Local Rules 320 and 1820.
- What are the filing hours for eFiling?
Documents can be eFiled 24 hours a day. Any eFiling electronically received by the court at or before 11:59:59 p.m. is deemed to have been filed on that court day if accepted for filing. Any document received electronically on a non-court day is deemed to have been filed on the next court day if accepted for filing.
Note: The system may be temporarily offline from time to time for maintenance purposes.
- How do I know if the court received my eFiling?
Through your EFSP, you will receive an email that confirms the court's receipt of your electronic submission, setting forth the date and time the electronic documents were received by the court for filing, along with a transaction identification number for tracking purposes.
Confirmation of the court's receipt of electronic documents does not mean that your documents have been accepted for filing. The court will provide a separate notice to your EFSP indicating whether the court accepted the electronic document for filing.
- How long does it take to process documents that are eFiled?
Processing time depends on the type of document filed.
- What if my eFiling is rejected?
Any Notice of Rejection sent by the court will include the reason the document was rejected and returned. If your document is rejected, correct the deficiency, and resubmit the document via eFiling. If the document is not timely filed because of the rejection or filing error, you will need to apply to the court for relief or other corrective order.
Rejected complaints or cross-complaints are subject to tolling as set forth in the Code of Civil Procedure section 1010.6(e)(4)(E).
- What are common reasons for rejection?
In addition to failing to follow California Rules of Court, rules 2.100 et seq., some common reasons a filing may be rejected by the Court include, but are not limited to:
- Documents that are not submitted as separate text searchable PDFs in the same transaction/envelope (e.g., multiple documents are submitted as a single filed document).
- Information entered in data fields is incorrect or does not match the document image (e.g., the incorrect Filing Document Name is selected, case number does not match).
- A party's name or address does not match the party's information stated on the document.
- Incorrect payment statement is selected (e.g., fee waiver or Government Code Section 6103).
- Incorrect case type or case category is selected.
- Incorrect court location is selected.
- Duplicate submission.
- Submission is untimely (e.g., ex parte application submitted after filing deadline).
- Exhibits are not bookmarked, when required.
- Is there a cost to eFile?
Yes. The EFSP collects the filing fees and the EFSP's fee when the filing is submitted to the EFSP. The EFSP determines the fees it charges. The EFM also assesses a service fee. The EFSP and EFM service fees are not costs charged by the Court. Court fees will not be assessed if a Request for a Fee Waiver is submitted at the time of filing.
The court's standard filing fee schedule can be found at Civil Fee Schedule.
Filings submitted without all required filing fees or a Request for a Fee waiver will be rejected for correction.
- Can I eFile a fee waiver application?
Yes, the initiating document and the required Request for a Fee Waiver must be submitted together and once submitted, will be processed by the court at the same time. If you have a fee waiver or are submitting a request to have your fees waived, you will not be charged fees for using the eFiling system, but your EFSP may still charge you fees. Contact your EFSP for questions about waived vendor fees. The fee waiver or Request for a Fee Waiver will be applied to offset the filing fees when the existing Fee Waiver is confirmed or if the Request for a Fee Waiver is granted. You will be notified if a fee waiver is not applied.
- How do I obtain an endorsed filed copy of an eFiled document?
The court returns accepted and filed documents to the filing parties through their EFSP. Filers may also obtain copies through the Court Access Portal (CAP) and certified copies through normal business processes.
- How will I know the judicial officer to whom my case is assigned?
Once a new case is accepted by the court for filing, the new case is assigned a case number and given a judicial officer assignment. The court will create a notice that will include case assignment information. This notice will be sent to the filer.
- Are new petitions automatically scheduled for hearing by the eFile system?
Once new petitions are accepted by the court for filing, they will be assigned to a judicial officer and assigned a hearing according to our normal business processes. The notice of assignment created during this process will including hearing information.
- Are motions automatically scheduled for hearing by the eFile system?
Motions will not be automatically set for hearing within the court's eFile review process. Once accepted by the court, a hearing will be scheduled according to existing business processes. Filers are able to add comments to their submission indicating preferred dates or limitations on availability.
- Who do I speak to if I have an eFiling question?
The first point of contact for any question should be the EFSP. If the question cannot be resolved with the EFSP, you may contact the court by using the phone number for the assigned location where your case will be heard.
- Are there any formatting requirements?
All documents eFiled must be submitted in pdf format using Adobe Acrobat version 7 or higher, and must be in a text searchable (i.e., optical character recognition (OCR)). The court cannot accept documents that do not meet the required formatting.
The court also cannot accept documents with certain characteristics including, but not limited to: forms with fillable fields, a negative image, or an image that is saved as an "object" on the filed document. When using Judicial Council fillable forms, be sure the fields are inactive and no longer fillable before submitting your document for eFiling. For assistance with inactivating fillable fields, contact your EFSP.
In addition, under California Rules of Court, rule 3.1110(f)(4), electronic exhibits submitted by represented parties must include electronic bookmarks with links to the first page of each exhibit and titles that identify the exhibit number or letter and briefly describe the exhibit. The court also encourages the use of electronic bookmarks in electronic documents for each heading, subheading, and document components, such as table of contents, table of authorities, declarations, and proof of service, if included. No electronic bookmark requirements exist for self-represented parties.
- Can I scan multiple documents together and upload as one document?
Documents should be submitted electronically as you would at the clerk window. If a document would have been stapled together at filing, then it may be electronically submitted as one lead document. Anything that needs its own file stamp should be filed separately as lead document that gets its own event code.
Multiple documents may be filed together in one envelope but each document to be filed-stamped needs its own event code. An envelope contains a document or group of documents that will be processed in one transaction for a single case number.
- Is there a limit on the file size for uploaded documents?
There is a 25 MB document limit and a 50 MB file limit. So no single document can be larger than 25 MB and no group of documents can be larger than 50 MB on a single electronic submission. Contact your EFSP for assistance in optimizing your files
- Can I scan and upload documents in color?
Yes. Where submissions need to be scanned in color, they should be scanned separately from those documents that can be scanned in black and white. Color scanning is recommended to be set at 300 dpi to ensure effective upload and adequate capacity for storage. This setting can be adjusted through your scanner settings menu, under scan resolution. Contact your EFSP for instructions on how to optimize your files.
- What are the requirements for signatures on documents?
The signature requirements depend on whether a document must be signed under penalty of perjury and/or requires the signature solely of the eFiler or the eFiler and another party (i.e. a stipulation). Please see Code of Civil Procedure section 1010.6(e)(2) and Cal. Rules of Court 2.257 for information on signature requirements.
- How do I redact a document to ensure sensitive information is not accessible in a document I eFile?
Please refer to your EFSP's website for guidance on how to properly redact information from documents.
Improperly redacting PDFs may place you or your client(s) at risk of releasing sensitive case information. To maintain confidentiality and ensure all redactions are appropriately applied, it is imperative that you remove metadata. Metadata is hidden information embedded within a document that, with a few clicks, may reveal a document's revision history, earlier drafts, information about the document author, file name, file path, date of creation, and so on. This information is still available and accessible, even if the document was converted to a PDF. It is your responsibility to learn more about metadata and how to remove it properly.
- Can I eFile a confidential document?
The eFiler will be able to designate a document as "confidential" at the time of filing. However, the designation by the eFiler does not mean that the document will be considered confidential if accepted for filing by the court. A document submitted as "confidential" by the eFiler will only become confidential if required by law or the court.
- How do I submit a proposed order?
Proposed orders and proposed judgments should be electronically filed as a separate document. The Proof of Service should not be attached to the proposed order/judgment; instead, the proof of service should be submitted electronically as a separate document. At this time, the court only requires the eFiler to electronically file a proposed order/judgment in a PDF format; an editable word-processing version pursuant to California Rules of Court, rule 3.1312(c)(2), is not required.
- Should eFiled documents be password protected?
No. Documents should not be password protected and will be rejected if password protected.
- Do I need to submit a courtesy copy?
No, unless the court requests otherwise. Contact your assigned courtroom for further instruction.
- Will the Court electronically serve other parties for me after I eFile?
No. The court will not serve other parties on behalf of another party, electronically or otherwise. You are still responsible to properly serve other parties.
- How do I serve eFiled documents?
You must serve documents on other parties in the case in accordance with applicable statutes, Court Rules, and any Court orders.