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“Small estate” in California allows you to avoid probate

There are many ways to avoid probate in California, and using the small estates law is one of them. This video explains this law and how it’s being used.

Estates of decedents that do not exceed $166,250 do not need to be probated in California. An affidavit or declaration signed under penalty of perjury at least 40 days after the death can be used to collect the assets for the beneficiaries or heirs of the estate.

One of the ways to decide if you can use a simplified procedure to transfer property is to figure out whether any of the assets have named beneficiaries. That means that the decedent, when alive, named one or more people as beneficiaries to receive the asset when they died. We listed some examples earlier, but here are some common ones:

  • Life insurance proceeds,
  • Retirement accounts, pensions, or annuities
  • Bank accounts, and
  • Property in a living trust

For a complete list, see California Probate Code section 13050

Affidavit process for Small Probate allowing to avoid formal probate process:

1. Fill out the Affidavit.

2. Attach appropriate documents to the affidavit.

3. Have the affidavit notarized.

4. If there are other people entitled to inherit the property, they MUST also sign the affidavit.

5. To have the property transferred to you, give the affidavit to the person, company, or bank that has the property now.

NOTE: Make sure the case is not already in probate court. If it is, you cannot use the affidavit process unless the personal representative of the estate agrees in writing to let you do so.

This may be a daunting process especially when you are grieving and things are not in order. You may choice to hire an attorney to help you through this difficult time. To schedule a consultation with an attorney, please call (650) 383-7663.

Baner Law

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