In California, if the combined value of a decedent’s real and personal property is $166,250 or less, various methods are available for asset collection without a full estate administration. The probate proceeding to follow to collect the small estate depends on the decedent’s marital status and the estate’s size and composition.
Affidavit re Real Property of Small Value
Suppose a decedent owned real estate with a value of up to $55,425. In that case, heirs can file an Affidavit re Real Property of Small Value with the probate court to transfer the property title under section 13200 of the California Probate Code.
You can only file the affidavit six months from the decedent’s death, and every party claiming an interest in terms of the will or intestate law must provide notarized signatures. A probate referee, a court-appointed appraiser in the real property’s county, will determine the property’s value on the date of death.
If a decedent was a California resident, the heir or beneficiary must file the affidavit in the Superior Court where the decedent was a resident. However, if the deceased person resided elsewhere, you will need to file the affidavit with the Superior Court in the county where the property is located. The conservator or guardian of the estate must also receive a certified copy of the affidavit.
Per section 13200 affidavit proceedings, there are no court orders or hearings. If there is a disagreement between the heirs about their entitlement to the property, this method is not suitable and full estate administration is necessary.
Petition to Determine Succession to Real and Personal Property
If the decedent’s estate has a real property value of over $55,425 and a combined personal and real property value of no more than $166,250, you can submit a Petition to Determine Succession to Real and Personal Property to collect the property. You must file the petition according to Section 13150 of the California Probate, and the petition is only valid if the estate contains real property in California.
You can only file the verified petition after 40 days from the decedent’s death. An inFventory and all appropriate inventory attachments must accompany the petition. A court-approved probate referee has to appraise all non-cash property, such as real estate and stocks, in the property’s county.
Filing a petition to determine succession to real and personal property is straightforward compared to a full estate administration, but there are similarities between the processes. You must file the petition in the county where the decedent was a resident if they lived in California. If the deceased person was not a California resident, you must file the petition in the county where the property is located.
After filing the petition, the clerk of the court will set a hearing date within six months. All heirs must receive a formal notification of the petition at least 15 days before the hearing date. Within a week before the hearing, you will be able to check the status of the petition on the probate court’s website – in the probate notes section and under your case number.
Affidavit for Collection of Personal Property
If the deceased person only owned personal property with a collective value lower than $166,250, you can file an Affidavit for Collection of Personal Property according to section 13100 of the California Probate Code. You can only submit this affidavit after at least 40 days have passed since the decedent’s death.
California state laws require institutions to accept the affidavit for asset collection, provided that you meet the provisions of the Code. When an institution refuses to accept the affidavit, it is necessary to resubmit the form and assert that a court appointment is unnecessary.
If the institution refuses to release the assets, you can petition the probate court for an order under section 13105(b) of the Code. If the court finds that the institution acted unreasonably by not releasing the personal property in question, you may be entitled to receive reasonable attorney’s fees.
California Raised the Value of a Small Estate
As of January 1, 2020, the value of a small estate increased from $150,000 to $166,250. On this date, the maximum value for filing an affidavit for transferring real property increased from $50,000 to $55,425.
Schedule a Consultation with Klosek Law Offices
If you are looking to file an Affidavit re Real Property of Small Value or a petition to determine succession to real and personal property, schedule an initial consultation with Klosek Law Offices.
Check our Probate Calculator for Free Estimates!