California’s statutes are contained in 29 separate codes. The twentieth alphabetically is the Probate Code. All 29 Codes have general provisions applicable to reading and interpreting that Code’s sections. The following are selected general provisions of the Probate Code:
Section 1 – This Code is known as the Probate Code.
Section 2 – A provision of this Code, insofar as it is substantially the same as a previously existing provision relating to the same subject matter, is to be construed as a restatement and continuation and not as a new enactment. In addition, a provision of this Code, insofar as it is the same in substance as a provision of a uniform act, is to be so construed as to effectuate the general purpose to make uniform the law in those states which enact that provision.
Section 3 – The term “new law” means either of the following, as the case may be: (A) The act that enacted this Code. (B) The act that makes a change in this Code, whether effectuated by amendment, addition, or repeal of any provision of this Code. The term “old law” means the applicable law in effect before the operative date of the new law. The term “operative date” means the operative date of the new law.
Section 4 – Division, part, chapter, article, and section headings do not in any manner affect the scope, meaning, or intent of the provisions of this Code.
Section 5 – If a notice or other communication is required by this Code to be mailed by registered mail, the mailing of the notice or other communication by certified mail is deemed to be sufficient compliance with the requirement.
Section 6 – Unless the provision or context otherwise requires, the general provisions and rules of construction in this part govern the construction of this Code.
Section 7 – Whenever a reference is made to any portion of this Code or to any other law, the reference applies to all amendments and additions made.
Section 9 – The present tense includes the past and future tenses, and the future tense includes the present.
Section 10 – The singular number includes the plural, and the plural, the singular.
Section 11 – If any provision or clause of this Code or application of it to any person or circumstances is held invalid, the invalidity does not affect other provisions or applications of the Code which can be given effect without the invalid provision or application, and to this end the provisions of this Code are severable.
Section 12 – The term “shall” is mandatory and “may” is permissive.