Protecting Estates.
Protecting Legacies.

When probate is not necessary

Probate is the process of determining the validity of the will and distributing assets after the decedent’s death. Even with fairly simple estates, the probate process can take months, while more complex estates can take longer than a year.

There are certain situations in which probate is not necessary. This may include the entire estate or just certain assets of the estate.

Assets that do not go through probate

According to the California Courts, there are some assets of the estate that do not go through probate. These include:

  • Policies or accounts that have named beneficiaries, such as life insurance, retirement accounts and annuities
  • Assets held in a living trust
  • Jointly owned property
  • Transfer on Death deeds
  • Social security or veteran benefits

Affidavit process for estates of a certain value

Estates valued at $166,250 or less may be able to go through a simplified process through an affidavit. However, real property, such as land or a house, cannot transfer this way. If all real and personal property, as well as benefits paid to the estate, add up to $166,250 or less, you can write an affidavit as long as it has been at least 40 days since the death.

For each affidavit, you must prove ownership of the asset, attach a certified copy of the death certificate, show your proof of identity and provide an Inventory and Appraisal form, if applicable. It is also a good idea to get it notarized.

Community property simplified process

As a spouse or domestic partner, you may also be able to simplify the process by filling out a Spousal or Domestic Partner Property Petition to get a court order defining what share of the property is legally yours.

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