Probate Referee Exam

California State Controller
Notice of Probate Referee Examination

The Probate Referee exam is administered once per calendar year. The 2025 exam information will be available in January of 2025.

Notice is hereby given that the State Controller's Office will conduct a qualifying examination for possible appointment as Probate Referee on Saturday, March 16; Sunday, March 17; Monday, March 18; and Tuesday, March 19, 2024 (applicant chooses ONE date).

The California State Controller is authorized by law to appoint at least one probate referee for each county. Currently, there are 103 appointed probate referees in California. Applicants must meet the minimum professional requirements discussed below, successfully pass an examination and be interviewed by a panel of judges and attorneys. The Controller will make his appointments after considering the recommendations from the interview panel.

Applicants for appointment must possess threshold academic and/or relevant professional experience in order to take the examination and be considered for appointment. Applicants must meet at least one of the following criteria:

  • Bachelor's degree plus at least thirty (30) class hours in appraisal/valuation classes; or
  • 2,000 hours of experience within the last four years appraising real and/or personal property; or
  • Certified as an appraiser by the California Office of Real Estate Appraisers, the Appraisal Institute or the American Society of Appraisers; or
  • Attorney with a minimum of three (3) years as a member of the California State Bar; or
  • Certified Public Accountant with a minimum of three (3) years as a licensed CPA in California
See: for additional information.
A practice exam is available here.

Interested persons who meet the above requirements should e-mail CPS HR Consulting at or call (916) 263-3624, select option #4, and request an application for Probate Referee. The application and testing information are also available at or Please write your email address on the upper, right corner of the application. Please return completed application on or after 01/01/2024, with exam fee by mail to: CPS HR Consulting, Attn: Probate Referee Program, 2450 Del Paso Road, Ste. 160, Sacramento, CA 95834. Applications must be received by March 01, 2024. The examination will be available to take online on either Saturday, March 16; Sunday, March 17; Monday, March 18; and Tuesday, March 19, 2024, between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. PST, at a web link to be provided.

An examination fee of $75.00 (check or money order made payable to the Office of the State Controller) is required of each applicant and must accompany the application. This fee is not refundable.


Please note that five (5) letters of recommendation from the references you list on your application will be required to be considered for an appointment. All letters are to be received by the State Controller's Office no later than March 1, 2024. Send letters to: State Controller's Office, Attn: Probate Referee Program, 300 Capitol Mall, Suite 1850, Sacramento, CA 95814.

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