How to Avoid Probate For Small Estates

How to Avoid Probate For Small Estates

Updated on March 23, 2022

Can a small estate avoid probate?

An estate that does exceed $150,000.00 may avoid the normal probate procedures to distribute the estate’s assets to the beneficiaries or heirs. This simplified procedure may be used only to transfer personal property. The types of personal property that can distributed through this simplified process include:

1. Money;

2. Tangible personal property, and/or

3. Evidence of a debt, obligation, interest, right, security, or right to sue by the decedent.

Size of estate to avoid probate

Title to real property may not be transferred under this procedure. However, to determine whether the estate qualifies to be distributed in this manner, the current gross market value of the estate’s personal property (including insurance policy or retirement plan proceeds) and real property in California must not exceed $150,000.00 (even though real property cannot be distributed in this manner).

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Properties excluded from small estate probate

Certain property is excluded from the calculation of the value of the estate.  Such property includes:

1. Vehicles registered in California;

2. Other state-registered property, such as mobile homes, manufactured homes, commercial coaches, truck campers, floating homes, and undocumented vessels;

3. Any unpaid amounts due to the decedent for services I the Armed Forces of the United States;

4. Any unpaid salary or other compensation due to the decedent that does not exceed $15,000.00;

5. All property, including real estate, that is held by the decedent in joint tenancy, in which the decedent had a life estate or other interest that terminates at death, or property that passed outright to the decedent’s surviving spouse or registered domestic partner;

6. Multiple-party accounts; and

7. Trust assets.

Therefore, after taking into consideration of all the above, if the value of estate is less than $150,000.00, then the claimant may use a simplified procedure to transfer the decedent’s estate to the beneficiaries or heirs.

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For more information on your small value estate probate, do not hesitate to contact our probate attorneys in Los Angeles today.  Give us a call at (310) 954-1877.

See related: Probate: When Is it Necessary?