Pettit Kohn’s Christine Mueller Discusses the Impact of North County Probate Court Closure

In response to the state’s ongoing budget crisis, it has been proposed by the Superior Court of California, County of San Diego, to close the Probate Department in Vista effective September 3, 2012. In this video, litigation attorney Christine Mueller discusses how the closure of the North County Probate Court will affect all residents of San Diego County, and is inviting the public to submit comments immediately to the court. Members of the North County Bar Association have also suggested less drastic alternatives to closing the Vista Probate Court.

Who will this affect? All residents of San Diego County, particularly those needing access to the probate system, who are often at their most vulnerable. The probate court serves three separate groups of citizens: minors, seniors and those who have recently lost a loved one. It handles distribution of assets to beneficiaries, contested cases involving wills, matters involving elders who have been financially abused, guardianship of minors abandoned by parents who may be abusers of drugs or alcohol, and relatives and friends who wish to provide a home for those children.

The closure will have a far-reaching affect on all residents of San Diego. The North County of San Diego has a population of over 1 million citizens. As described in Christine’s interview, all North County probate cases will be moved to the smaller courthouse in downtown San Diego creating even more congestion in an already overcrowded court. Those needing the assistance of the probate court system can expect more difficult access to the court, long lines, and extended delays in obtaining a hearing date.

The North County Bar Association is encouraging the public to comment immediately before the September 3 implementation. Go to and click on “Help Save Our Probate Court” for instructions on submitting a comment.

View Christine’s interview here: KUSI News – San Diego CA – North County Court Closure.