Call for a FREE Consultation

When Can You Use California Simplified Probate Shortcuts?
21January 19

When Can You Use California Simplified Probate Shortcuts?

Going through the formal probate procedure to distribute an estate’s assets can be very costly, stressful and time-consuming. California simplified probate can be used for assets in small estates and property transferred to surviving spouses. Through small estate probate, you can minimize your and your heirs and beneficiaries’ time, money, and frustration.

An experienced Palmdale CA probate attorney can help you create an estate plan to avoid or simplify probate. Contact Herbert Law Office to learn more.

California Simplified Probate, small estate probate, Palmdale CA

What Is California Simplified Probate?

California simplified probate will save time and money when you or your loved ones execute an estate in the State. This simplified “Summary Probate” proceeding allows heirs and beneficiaries to obtain title or possession of estate property quickly. This is because little to no court supervision is necessary.

California also allows you to use an affidavit procedure to collect certain types of assets from an estate. This eliminates the need for formal or simplified probate.

In California, there are two types of estate property that let you avoid or speed up probate, as described below.

1. Surviving Spousal Property

The “Spousal (or Domestic Partner) Property Petition” process exists to transfer property to a surviving spouse or registered domestic partner. This streamlined procedure requires you to submit the petition to the probate court for approval.

Though this process involves the court, it is easier and faster than formal probate. In addition, there is no cap on the value of assets that can be transferred through Spousal Property Petition.

2. Small Estates

California simplified probate also extends to “Small Estates”. These are estates with a value of $150,000 or less. Individually-owned property without a named beneficiary count toward this $150,000 limit. Jointly-owned assets, accounts with designated beneficiaries, real estate outside California, salary up to $15,000, and money in trusts don’t.

To use California simplified probate for a small estate, you will need to make sure of three things. First, there can’t be an open probate case for the estate. Second, the executor of the estate must give written permission for you to use this process to collect your inheritance. Third, you will have to wait 40 days (6 months if the estate’s value is $50,000 or less).

If you are inheriting assets from a small estate in California, you will need to prepare an affidavit. This written request will need to be signed under oath and provide the following information:

  1. The county where the deceased lived or the estate property is located;
  2. The estimated value of the estate;
  3. A description of the estate property you are entitled to and requesting;
  4. You name, age, address and relationship to the deceased; and
  5. The executor’s name.

You need to file the affidavit with a county superior court where the deceased lived or the property is located. Whoever has the property or funds will have to release them to you once you provide them the affidavit and a copy of the death certificate.

How California Simplified Probate Works?

The first step of California simplified probate is to request to administer an estate under “Summary Probate”. The executor or surviving spouse or close family member does this by filing a petition with a county superior court.

This written request needs to state why the estate qualifies for Summary Probate under state law. Typically, these petitions will provide that the total value of estate property makes it a small estate. You must file the petition will with:

  • A copy of the will;
  • A list of all heirs and beneficiaries; and
  • An inventory of the property in the estate.

The next step is for the petitioner to notify all heirs, beneficiaries, and creditors of the probate proceeding. Notice must be published in a local newspaper where the decedent died at least three times before the probate hearing. An affidavit from the newspaper must be filed with the court to prove that notice was provided.

Following notice, there is typically a waiting period. The intention is to give creditors, beneficiaries and heirs time to file their claims. Filing these claims with the court is necessary. However, it is a shorter and simpler process than in formal probate.

Once all the estate’s assets have been distributed and creditors have been paid, the estate can be closed. The executor files a document showing the court that assets have been distributed and debts and taxes have been paid. The court then issues an order closing the estate.

Find Out More About California Simplified Probate

A  Palmdale probate attorney can help you determine whether an estate you’re planning or executing can be administered through California simplified probate.  They can also help you navigate the probate process and help with all the required steps.

The experienced estate planning attorneys at Herbert Law Office can create an estate plan or help you administer an estate that transfers property hassle-free. Contact us today.

Request a
Free Consultation

What Our Clients Say

  • Steve and I enjoyed your professionalism, service, and care in making us feel like we were your VIP clients. We would love to recommend Herbert […]

    ~ Stephen & Margaret P., Mojave

    unum disability claims
  • Great experience. Marc explained everything and gave us all the time we needed to review the documents.

    ~ Kris and Sharron W., Tehachapi

    unum disability claims
  • Pleasant and good information. We felt comfortable through the difficult decisions and never felt pressured.

    ~ Floyd and Agee R., Ridgecrest

    unum disability claims
  • Marc and his staff put my mom’s trust on their top priority because she was hospitalized.

    ~ Louiese H., Palmdale

    unum disability claims
  • Very professional and approachable.

    ~ James and Cecelia M., Palmdale

    unum disability claims
  • Friendly and professional.

    ~ Tomas and Mary C., Lancaster

    unum disability claims
  • Very friendly and easy to work with.

    ~ Michael and Carole S., Acton

    unum disability claims
  • Very helpful, easy to understand. Felt very comfortable.

    ~ Judy W., Lancaster

    unum disability claims
  • (Marc) was very helpful and professional … patient answering all of our questions with cogent explanations.

    ~ Terry and Nancy L., Palmdale

    unum disability claims
  • Very pleasant and staff extremely helpful … open and honest.

    ~ Steve F., Quartz Hill

    unum disability claims
  • Excellent. Pleasant and well-informed …you educated us.

    ~ Raymond and Lori G., Santa Clarita

    unum disability claims
  • Explained everything well. Always available when our schedule changed. Easy to work with.

    ~ Mark and Suzanne F., Lancaster

    unum disability claims
  • Excellent. Easy process.

    ~ Michael and Susan R., Quartz Hill

    unum disability claims
  • Very efficient … (we appreciate) your attention to detail, ability to explain documents in “plain” English, good response time.

    ~ Thomas and Bonnie G., Tehachapi

    unum disability claims
  • We just kept putting it off. Thank you for your patience … (and) one-on-one personal contact.

    ~ Rex and Denise H., Acton

    unum disability claims
  • Very pleasant, patient and accommodating. Great listener … (the) Antelope Valley community should be proud of having such a caring and wonderful person like you, […]

    ~ Hovsep M. and Anna A., Palmdale

    unum disability claims
  • Excellent. Very professional, great attention to detail, seemed to really care … (and) answered all questions.

    ~ Daniel and Linda L., Ridgecrest

    unum disability claims
  • Personable, knowledgeable, explains well. Very happy with the courtesy and expertise in handling our Trust.

    ~ Anthony and Susan C., Lancaster

    unum disability claims
  • It was an easy experience for a hard thing to do. (Marc is) very easy to speak with and made everything easier to understand. We […]

    ~ Bruce and Christina Z., Tehachapi

    unum disability claims
  • (You) were always following up to make sure we had all we needed. Great service … provided a lot of information.

    ~ Carlos and Claudia O., Palmdale

    unum disability claims
  • Excellent. Very informative …friendly … (and) explained things clearly.

    ~ Robert and Joan W., Lancaster

    unum disability claims
  • Marc was great at understanding our needs and he and his staff are so responsive in providing what we need, how we need it … […]

    ~ James and Linda J., Palmdale

    unum disability claims
  • (We appreciate your) thoughtfulness, friendliness and fairness to walk us through the process and helping set up a Special Needs Trust

    ~ Dale and Meryl Z., Tehachapi

    unum disability claims
  • Friendly and welcoming atmosphere. We enjoyed working with Marc. He took time to explain and answer all and any questions … (You) did not rush […]

    ~ Keith and Susan I., Acton

    unum disability claims
  • Marc took his time explaining everything thoroughly to us and answered the many questions we asked. We have busy conflicting schedules, so at times we […]

    ~ Sharron K. and Bonnie M., Palmdale

    unum disability claims
  • Very professional staff … (Marc’s) first hand knowledge of the law (was very important)

    ~ Janet B., Lancaster

    unum disability claims
  • Excellent learning experience … (we appreciate your) expertise in the field.

    ~ Danny and Diane T., Ridgecrest

    unum disability claims
  • (My experience) was quite relaxing and worry-free … (Marc is) honest and answered any and all questions that I had leaving me with good feeling […]

    ~ James G., Lancaster

    unum disability claims
  • Excellent. Very professional and on the other hand very open, which made covering sensitive subjects a lot easier. (Marc is) easy to talk to.

    ~ Wilfred and Julia L., Palmdale

    unum disability claims
  • (Marc) was very patient with (me) … (and) anyone with assets and heirs (would benefit from his services).

    ~ Marcy W., Leona Valley

    unum disability claims
  • It is not fun to plan for one’s death, but you helped us be comfortable. You were very considerate to our needs, especially when it […]

    ~ John and Diane H., Palmdale

    unum disability claims
  • You and your staff were professional, helpful and patient … We took a long time getting everything together and you helped us and were patient […]

    ~ Jerry and Gloria V., Palmdale

    unum disability claims
  • Excellent. Very knowledgeable and helpful 🙂 … Your office was very helpful and persistent in keeping in contact with us during a very chaotic year. […]

    ~ Christopher and Naomi E., Temecula

    unum disability claims
  • We were in good hands with Marc’s expertise through every step. He was thorough. We didn’t feel rushed. We know that you are working for […]

    ~ Randy and Rebecca T., Lancaster

    unum disability claims
  • It was a well-paced comfortable experience

    ~ Richard and Clara H., Quartz Hill

    unum disability claims
  • Excellent. Professional and caring … (I liked) being able to contact you to answer my questions.

    ~ Dwight and Paula C., Palmdale

    unum disability claims
  • It was a pleasant and easy experience working with Marc …. Everyone who believes they and their family will “be alright” without a will and/or […]

    ~ Don and Michelle W., Lancaster

    unum disability claims
  • Marc is friendly and easy to talk to, very helpful. Marc explained everything clearly (and) patiently answered questions.

    ~ Evelyn G., Lancaster

    unum disability claims
  • Everyone is so patient with us and our situation. You’re easy to talk to and share personal stories that help (us) think through (our) own […]

    ~ Michael and Sharon W., Tehachapi

    unum disability claims