Dealing With Assets Subject to California Probate


When someone dies owning assets subject to California probate, winding up the estate becomes more complex. Finding all the assets, locating and speaking to creditors, and ensuring all beneficiary designation is correct is a time-consuming and challenging process. 


Considering that the probate process should start just after the funeral, people often feel overwhelmed. No one wants to take apart a loved one’s life and assign value to their items while still grieving. 


Our team at the Klosek Law Offices thoroughly understands California estate planning and execution law. Hiring a probate lawyer can provide clients with the assistance they require during this difficult time. 


Which Assets are Subject to California probate?


The estate may be subject to probate if the estate is worth over $166,250. You may also have to head to probate court for the following assets: 


  • All of the decedent’s personal property is owned solely in their name. This includes assets purchased or inherited before or during the marriage if the couple married out of community of property. 
  • Half of the person’s community property, where applicable
  • The share of any asset jointly owned with others as a non-tenant


Which Assets Does the California Probate Law Exclude? 


Simplified procedures apply to any estate valued at $166,250 or less. They also apply to: 


  • Assets that the person placed in a living trust before they died
  • Real estate property, stocks, and bonds that the deceased gifted to others before their death
  • Assets that form part of an irrevocable trust
  • Those assets that the deceased held in joint tenancy with someone else
  • Life insurance and retirement accounts with a nominated beneficiary
  • Assets that the deceased had in trust for another’s benefit
  • Transfer of death or accounts payable upon death. 
  • Property or items that go to the surviving spouse 


In California, it’s possible to bypass the spousal confirmation proceeding to avoid the probate procedure. In such cases, the attorney petitions the court to enact the simplified processes. They then give notice to the relevant parties and provide the opportunity for them to object. 


Assuming no one objects, the court orders the lawyer to transfer the property and bank accounts to the spouse. It’s the quickest way to wind up the estate and may take just weeks. 


When in doubt, people should always consult a professional for the legal ramifications of executing the will. Heirs may hold the executor liable for unintentional mistakes, even if the executor was ignorant of the relevant law. 


Money can easily tear families apart. Hiring a professional attorney to handle probate ensures that everything proceeds amicably. 


Are Your Loved One’s Assets Subject to California Probate? 


If you are unsure, schedule your consultation at the Klosek Law Office in Sacramento, CA today by calling (916) 290-7560. At our practice, we prioritize our customer’s needs. 


The first consultation with our legal team is free. We will discuss your situation and advise you of your options. Should you wish us to handle the probate, we’ll determine a customized strategy tailored to your circumstances.