Starting in 2012, estates of decedents that do not exceed $150,000 do not need to be probated in California.
Bay Area Attorneys, Advising on Asset Distribution
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. No documents are required to be filed with the Superior Court if the small estates law (California Probate Code Section 13100 to 13116) is used. Assets included in the $150K limit are bank accounts, brokerage accounts, stock, bonds, mutual funds, other investments, real property valued at up to $50,000 and similar assets that the decedent owned in his or her name only, unless they fall under an exception.
In order to collect the assets, an affidavit or declaration must be signed under penalty of perjury. The affidavit or declaration must include the information described in California Probate Code Section 13101. The affidavit or declaration is then given to the institution that holds the assets, and the assets are transferred to the person who signed the affidavit or declaration. Creditors of the decedent are paid from the assets, and the remaining assets are transferred to the beneficiaries or heirs.
This law should not be used for estates with substantial indebtedness that might exceed the value of the assets. Estates that are insolvent or close to insolvency should be probated instead to take advantage of Probate Code provisions that determine which creditors will be paid from the estate and how much. Probate should also be used in situations in which the beneficiaries or heirs do not agree on how the assets should be distributed.
Probate Lawyers Serving Oakland and Other California Communities
Please call 415-441-8669 or contact our attorneys online via e-mail to schedule a free initial consultation to discuss your asset distribution goals. We serve clients in communities throughout the Bay Area and Southern California.