A simplified procedure is available under California probate law to settle estates with assets that do not surpass a certain threshold, making it a “small estate.” In a small estate, you can use an affidavit to transfer decedent’s assets, and avoid a formal probate proceeding in the California probate courts. The legal requirements have changed as of January 1, 2020 to qualify as a small estate.
What Is Considered A Small Estate In CA?
As of January 1, 2020, the answer is: $166,250 or less. The old amount of assets to be considered a small estate in California was $150,000.
$166,250 is also the new limit for small estate affidavits under California probate code section 13100.
For small estate affidavits to transfer real property in California the limit increased to $55,425 from $50,000. See California Probate Code section 13200.
Now Californians can avoid probate if the decedent’s total estate does not exceed the new limit of $166,250
How Do You Determine If The Estate Qualifies As a Small Estate Under California Law?
To determine whether the decedent’s assets qualify as a small estate in CA, include the value of decedent’s personal and real property. If the assets are valued at $166,250 or less, the estate is considered a small estate under the new California law.
What Is A Small Estate Affidavit?
Under California law, if a minimum of 40 days have passed from the decedent’s death, and no one has opened up a probate proceeding, a small estate affidavit can be used to transfer personal property such as bank accounts. A small estate affidavit permits you to acquire an estate asset to which you are entitled.
The requirements of the small estate affidavit are set forth in California Probate Code 13101. A California small estate affidavit must include:
1 – Decedent’s name
2 – The date and place of decedent’s death
3 – A statement that at least 40 days have elapsed since death, as shown in a certified copy of decedent’s death certificate
4 – Either of the following, as appropriate:
- “No proceeding is now being or has been conducted in California for administration of the decedent’s estate.”
- “The decedent’s personal representative has consented in writing to the payment, transfer, or delivery to the affiant or declarant of the property described in the affidavit or declaration.”
5 – “The current gross fair market value of the decedent’s real and personal property in California, excluding the property described in Section 13050 of the California Probate Code, does not exceed [Insert dollar amount specified in subdivision (g) of Section 13101 of the California Probate Code].”
6 – A description of the property of the decedent that is to be paid, transferred, or delivered to the affiant or declarant.
7 – The name of the successor of the decedent (as defined in Section 13006 of the California Probate Code) to the described property.