PROBATE OF A SMALL ESTATE, $20,000 OR LESS IN ASSETS
If a person dies leaving $20,000 or less in assets, the surviving spouse or minor children can request the court to “set aside” the estate. This is much simpler than a full probate proceeding. In order for the court to set aside the estate, the petitioner has to file a Petition for Order to Set Aside Estate Not Exceeding $20,000 with the probate court. Property held in joint tenancy need not be included but the decedent’s share in any community property must be included.
If the estate is set aside by the court, the surviving spouse or children are responsible for the payment of the decedent’s unsecured debts up to the value of the estate, less any liens and homestead or other exempt property.
If the estate is awarded, the beneficiaries are responsible for the decedent’s debts for one year unless the creditor files a court action during that year. There may be tax ramifications; therefore, it is advisable to consult a lawyer.
In order to get more information, please read California Probate Code Section 6600.
PERSONAL AND REAL PROPERTY WORTH $150,000 OR LESS
The procedure described in Probate Code Section 13100 can be used to collect the decedent’s personal property and distribute it to the heirs or the beneficiaries named in the Will by using a declaration. However, certain rules, given below, apply to this procedure.
- It cannot be used to distribute real property (land or buildings)
- It can be used for property that would automatically pass to a spouse
- There is a 40 days waiting period after the death of the decedent before the decedent’s assets can be collected and distributed.
Written declaration must be given to the person or agency that has the property or is in charge of the transfer of the property.
In order to get more information on this procedure, please read Probate Code Section 13100.
For More information on Wills, Probate, Trusts and Estate Litigation, contact Law Office of Michael C. Maddux at 909-890-2350 or fill out a Request for a free Initial Consultation.