are a number of comments, responses, and helpful hints regarding the
required efiling in Los Angeles Probate Courts from the Los Angeles
County Bar Association Trust and Estates list serve. Please
note that these are not my comments, but comments I have complied
from others regarding efiling in Los Angeles Probate Courts.
the link to sign up for the efiling webinar I watched, and the source
of the information on that list I posted.
free and you get 1 MCLE unit!
are a few things I found interesting from the Green E-Filing webinar
I watched over my lunch hour…
beginning, everyone should familiarize themselves with Chapter 2 of
the California Rules of Court.
court requires our documents to be in PDF form, text-searchable if
feasible. The court understands that not all docs can
reasonably be made text-searchable. If you upload your docs in
Word or WordPerfect, Green will do the conversion to PDF for you.
is a size limit for the PDFs. One document may not exceed 25
MB. All the documents in one envelope may not exceed 35 MB.
If you convert your PDFs at a resolution of 300 dpi or less, this
should never be a problem.
check the status of a filing, and there is an envelope number, you
know the court has received the filing because the court system
assigns the envelope number, not your electronic filer.
service charge for payment by credit card is 2.75% for LA County.
However, LA just made payment by eCheck available for $0.25.
(It’s $1.00 in other counties.)
is a space on Green’s “dashboard” where you can add the
names/email addresses of those you want Green to serve
electronically. Even if you don’t want Green to serve anyone
the thing you have just filed, you should add your own name where it
says Add/Attach Service Contact so if anyone else files anything in
that matter, you will get notice of it.
provides limited search capability by using the button for “File an
Existing Case”. For example, you could use this to see if
someone has opened a probate by searching using the decedent’s
name. Or searching by any possible party’s name. This
isn’t what it’s designed to do but it can be used this way.
has a feature that allows you to electronically “serve” documents
that are not being filed with the court. Look for “Create
Serve-Only”. This might be useful for circulating a proposed
order or joint trial statement or anything else where multiple
parties get to review and sign off on a doc before filing.
Maybe a Notice of Proposed Action…? Also for discovery.
all things electronically served, Green maintains a record of exactly
when it was sent. They also track when it was opened.
those matters, like some petitions for limited conservatorship, where
we also send a FW-001 Request to Waive Court Fees and a proposed
FW-003 Order on Court Fee Waiver, we can still bundle those with the
original petition but we still have to indicate our method of payment
– credit card or eCheck. If the waiver is granted, no charge
will be made. If you send the whole package and indicate the
fees should be waived, and the court disagrees, the whole package
will get rejected and you’ll have to file again.
and most interesting, was the fact that the presenter came right out
and said that all other counties take into consideration attorneys’
requests for setting on certain days or avoiding certain days.
LA appears to be the only one that doesn’t. I suspect that
this will change in time, perhaps once the system is up and running
smoothly and they feel ready to throw another wrench into the works.
June T&E Newsletter listed some useful (but still optional)
Judicial Council forms to be aware of, now that efiling is
mandatory. Here are a couple that I think we’ll be using a
know that attorneys are now required to file electronically, and by
extension, automatically consent to being served electronically at
the same email address. However, parties or non-parties who are
entitled to notice must consent to being served electronically.
If they do consent, this form should be filed in the matter so that
everyone has the “official” email address at which the person has
consented to be electronically served:
someone’s email address for electronic service changes, this form
should be filed:
you serve someone electronically (or have your EFSP do so on your
behalf), you should file:
are definitely issues to be addressed, but I was impressed earlier
this week when I submitted an Ex Parte Petition for Final Discharge
and got back a conformed copy, with the judge’s electronic
signature and everything, in less than 15 minutes.
have read, with great interest the various comments on efiling and
the questions that have been noted. However, it seems that
there is one question that was not posed and which needs to be
answered. I believe others have noted that matters are
automatically set for 10 weeks out (in apparent violation of
provisions of the Probate Code) however, what about the setting for a
petition to confirm sale of real property. That has always had
a "quick" hearing date for obvious reasons. Now, try
explaining to the anxious buyer that it will be 10 weeks before the
matter is heard. It is apparent that whomever designed the
system didn't take that into account either.
the way, I am still one of those who uses faxes and doesn't scan and
email documents --- and, I am afraid that I am a bit too old to pick
up those "new fangled" ideas --- my Bar number is 27___)
our conversations regarding e-filing unfold here on the list-serve,
it is very apparent that some sort of participation by practitioners
would have been useful, from our perspective, in the planning and
design stages of this project. On the other hand, I don't think
it was the court's hubris that determined they didn't need our input
– I think it was probably knowing that taking into account our
widely varying opinions, needs and ideas would have slowed the
process waaaaaaaaaay down, sort of like the way it sometimes makes
sense to take action and ask for forgiveness later, rather than ask
for permission first. And in the end, they wouldn't have been
able to make everyone happy anyway.
my comment on faxing, I was referring to my older clients being the
only ones who ever ask if they can fax me things anymore. Everyone
else just emails things. I assume every attorney still
maintains fax capability but I'll bet a lot of you are like us; we
don't have a fax "machine" anymore, we get our faxes
through a service that emails them to us as attached PDFs. The
same service that emails our voice messages to us as attached .wav
files. (As an aside, how many of you have asked a client who
has a scanner at home, to scan and email you a document, only to
receive 20 separate .jpg pages, each with a postage stamp sized image
of the page, that can't be read when blown up to full size because
the resolution is so low?)
the way, I didn't know you were an octogenarian!
Congratulations! That's impressive! What the heck are you
doing here? Why aren't you out doing something fun and
totally agree that the ability to manipulate digital images is
greater today than ever before and that original documents are better
for analysis. That said, I don't think e-filing adds to the
burden of maintaining original documentary evidence for later
analysis or production at trial. We needed to do that anyway.
Nothing has changed in that regard. If attorneys are claiming
that they've "lost" or "accidentally shredded"
documentary evidence, that's an issue for the court to weigh.
Judges and juries are well aware of the potential for document
manipulation as well as the fact that there are some shady attorneys
who might "lose" a document rather than produce it.
Like gauging a witness' veracity during examination, they get to
decide how to treat that information.
make a good point about the burden of storing original filings
shifting from the court to us. Storage space IS an issue for
small firms and we do try to be as paperless as possible because real
estate is expensive. We practitioners will have to develop more
efficient systems for determining what truly needs to be kept in
paper form. For example, if we are now responsible for keeping
the wet signatures of the documents we file, but everyone from the
court, to our ESFPs, to us will have full electronic copies that
could be printed on demand, then maybe we don't need to keep all 20
pages of a pleading in the file, but rather, just the first page and
the wet signature page of each filed document.
I asked before, when it comes to ordinary filings – petitions and
objections, declarations and reports, etc. – how often are their
signatures challenged? When was the last time you had to
request an original wet signature pleading from the court file in
order to have the signature analyzed? I don't think this is
going to be a big issue unless we believe that attorneys are now
going to exploit the e-filing system by filing unsigned things they
otherwise wouldn't have filed.
we really think that's going to happen? There are a lot of
pain-in-the-butt problems brought on by e-filing but I'm not sure
this is one of them. But maybe I'm being naïve...
there is a question about whether a pleading or declaration was in
fact signed by the party or witness under penalty of perjury, I would
hope that the failure to produce a signed document upon demand would
be given the evidentiary weight it should be entitled to... i.e. very
little. Maybe even a shifting of the burden of proof where
assistant and I were just discussing how often this might become an
issue, where a party actually demands the production of an original
pleading as proof of its existence. What does everyone think?
Are we attorneys trustworthy? LOL! IMHO, if your client
emails (or faxes, if they're old!) back their signature to you and
claims they put the original in the mail to you, and you go ahead and
file based on that, the risk is on you. Only you can make that
judgment call. I'm not saying I've never done that...
a document for which you can't actually produce the party's signature
would seem to be a sanctionable offense under 2.257(a)(2), wouldn't
rule is interesting but as it relates to signatures appears to
conflict with the statutes - and, conflicts with reality.
the rule "deems" items filed, but there is the reality of
production. As my office primarily handles litigation, often
relating to documents, including wills and trusts, I have run into
numerous instances where parties, attorneys and others have a duty
and are even ordered to produce documents - and the excuses are
numerous (just take notary records, which seem to evaporate and
disappear with alarming regularity - I have had three cases where
just one excuse "my briefcase was stolen from my car," was
used, and others include plumbing leaks and overflows, an office fire
- everything but "my dog ate the records"). With most
offices going "paperless," when a document is potentially
damaging, I would bet that the new most popular excuse will become
"it was accidentally shredded." For use as
"evidence," the statutes still seem to require something
more than an "/s/."
certainly pays to check the E-Filing FAQ frequently. I have seen at
least three versions of it. In addition to the listing of when new
petitions will be set pointed out by Maria, the current version of
the FAQ has much new information on the filing process. For instance,
FAQ 32 says that if you have another petition on calendar and you
want to avoid a conflict then you should put a note to that effect in
the comment section of your submission. Unclear if that will really
do you any good, or if you can use that method to avoid other
conflicts, such as vacations, meetings, etc.
court’s probate e-filing web page
now also has a downloadable list of all the document types you can
choose when e-filing. The list is accessed by clicking a link on that
page that is rather misleadingly labeled “View Document Options.”
This list gives you a chance to figure out which document description
to select before you start the e-filing process, and it also shows
the corresponding filing fee. Scanning the seemingly endless dropdown
menu of document choices (there must be about 250) online during the
e-filing process is a real chore. Using this list you can figure out
the correct document type ahead of time and go directly to it in the
dropdown. It also makes it easier to make a list of frequently-used
is a schedule on the Los Angeles Superior Court website under
Probate/E-filing, that has a schedule listing when new petitions will
be set. I found it at the end of E-Filing FAQ. Petitions
for Letters of Administration and Petitions for Confirmation of
Sale of Real Property reflect the hearing will be set 30 days out,
not 10 weeks (70 days).
that, at least, is helpful, but there's still a related problem –
sometimes there's a need for the hearing on a petition for probate to
be set up to 45 days out instead of 30, and under 8003(a) if the
petitioner asks for it to be set up to 45 days out the court "shall"
set the hearing at more than 30 days out.
filed a 2nd
and Final Account of Conservator (and a PRO-003 – I guess they
don’t have to be YELLOW anymore!) and a new fee came up in addition
to the $465 and the usual eFiling fee. This time there was
something called a “Court Convenience Fee” and it was $16.45.
note that these are not my comments, but comments I have complied
from others regarding efiling in Los Angeles Probate Courts.