Sacramento Probate Court ZOOM forms

This post is about the Sacramento Probate Court Zoom Forms. In the wake of the Covid crisis we have yet another mandatory use form… at least here in Sacramento Superior Court – Family Law Division – Probate – Department 129. Actually there are three forms. You can get them on the court website and I will supply a link and an explanation for each below.

The overall concept is that you can now appear “telephonically” in Sacramento Probate Court via Zoom. This is a free service unlike Court Call which used to be the standard for our of county court appearances. This is something we do a lot of since we have a state-wide California probate law practice. Currently, in Sacramento probate court, you must appear by Zoom rather than in the courtroom itself. I do not know how long this procedure will be in place.

The biggest downside we have seen with these Zoom/telephone appearances is that we can not get our written court orders right away. In some courts it is taking weeks and others just days. However, we can not just walk out of the courthouse with a signed court order anymore.

The mandatory use forms for Sacramento probate are what we call the “Zoom notice forms” in our office. They are as follows:

First is called “Zoom (telepresence) Court Hearing (Probate)”. A link to the form is provided here.  As you can see when reviewing the form it just goes over some basic principals of appearing by Zoom and also gives the Zoom code information so you can be “live” with the Judge.  I think #4 is especially important. It provides:

4. Due to the uncertainty of continued efforts to stem the COVID-19 epidemic, court hearings may be subject to change, and may change from Zoom to in-person appearances.

This is key as you can not assume Zoom or assume in-person. Check the court website frequently if you don’t have a great California probate attorney.

The second form is here and it’s called “Zoom Court Hearing Instructions & Etiquette Guide.”  I would say it’s all pretty basic stuff but, since they have to go to the trouble of writing it out I guess it’s not basic to everybody. It is served with the first form.  I think the last point on the rules sheet is especially important. It says: “If you are on video, be sure to frame your camera correctly, with your face in the center of the screen. Your background should be neutral, (like a clear wall) and absent of anything that may be perceived as offensive. Additionally, if you are on video, be sure to wear clothing appropriate for the formal court environment.”

The third form is the “Proof of Service (Zoom Court Hearing – Probate).” It is available right here. It is required to be sent out to all parties. I have successfully gotten it out 15 days ahead of the hearing as I assume that’s the requirement though I can’t find that requirement anywhere. Also, my first two Zoom cases posted on the Court’s website exactly 15 days before the hearing so I had to quickly get them in the mail that day.

The key point of this thread is you need to pay attention to what is going on at the probate Court as Sacramento, and most all other courts in the state, are experiencing unprecedented change and upheaval right now due to the Covid crisis.

For the latest Sacramento probate court information ask me or go straight to the court’s website here.

-John Palley

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