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Accessing a Bank Account During a Small CA Estate Administration

Bank AccountOpening up a formal proceeding in San Diego probate court can be a cumbersome, costly, and lengthy process. Fortunately,California probate laws allow for certain shortened proceedings when estates are small. If the only asset of your loved one’s estate is a bank account, you may qualify for this type of summary proceeding. A knowledgeable California probate attorney can help you determine the best procedure for your loved one’s estate.

When a bank account is an asset of an estate, most banks will not release control of the account without Letters of Administration. Normally, you can only obtain Letters of Administration by following through with the formal California probate proceedings. Fortunately, you may have easier options.

Steps to take when a probate is not required:

  1. Consult with an experienced San Diego probate lawyer.
  2. Next, wait at least 40 days from the date of death of the account holder.
  3. Complete an Affidavit for Collection or Transfer of Personal Property.
  4. Have the Affidavit signed by all persons entitled to receive the assets.
  5. Have the Affidavit and signatures notarized.
  6. File the Affidavit.

By following the steps mentioned above, you may save yourself the time and expense of obtaining Letters of Administration. Remember, your loved one’s estate taxes cannot be avoided by simply deciding not to open a formal probate. Our article, Death Doesn’t Escape Taxes: Duties of an Administrator in California, provides more information. Contact an experienced San Diego probate court attorney today for further guidance. Call the Grossman Law Firm at (888) 443-6590.

Scott Grossman

Scott Grossman


The Grossman Law Firm, APC · 525 B Street, Suite 1500, San Diego, CA 92101 · (951) 523-8307

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