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By: Scott Grossman on June 18th, 2018

Smaller Estates: Do I have to open up a formal probate proceeding?

For smaller estates, the California probate code allows for certain procedures that are easier, quicker, and less expensive to administer an estate. Since every estate is unique, contact an experienced probate attorney today. They will be able to help you choose the most efficient procedure for your matter. You may not always need to open up a formal probate proceeding.

The following are helpful steps to take relating to a Formal Probate Proceeding in California:

  1. First of all, determine whether the property is worth less than $50,000.
  2. Also, wait six months after the death of your loved one.
  3. After six months have passed, file an Affidavit re Real Property of Small Value in the county of residence of your loved one. For example, if your loved one lived in San Diego, file the affidavit in the San Diego probate court. This is true regardless of where the real property is actually located.
  4. Lastly, make sure the Affidavit is filed with the court; however, no hearing will be set.

In addition to the ability to avoid opening up a formal probate proceeding for small estates, you may also be entitled to other protections under the California probate code. These may include the right to temporarily take possession of the property or the right to protect the home for a specified period of time. Every estate is unique and should therefore be carefully reviewed by a knowledgeable legal professional. For guidance administering the estate of your loved one, contact an experienced probate court lawyer today.

  • Probate (noun): The process of proving in court that the will of a person who has died is valid. It involves proving before a competent judicial authority that a document offered for official recognition and registration as the last will and testament of a deceased person is genuine. Not all wills must go through this in California. See our infographic to help you determine if your loved one’s estate must go through probate.
  • Estate (noun): An estate includes the things that a person owns. The things left by someone who has died can be distributed based on a Will, Trust, or Intestate laws. Estates have to be administered in the Probate Court if the estate meets certain criteria. See our Infographic on The Probate Process.

If you are ready to start your case, then please give us a call or fill out our Get Help Now form. A comprehensive overview of California Probate is available here. Should you have additional questions about trust litigation, you will find plenty of useful information in our Learning Center.