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What assets go through probate in California?

Not all of a decedent’s assets go through California probate process. If the deceased had no titled assets to his or her name, then the probate process may not even be necessary. The California Probate Code provides that estates of $100,000 or less do not need to be probated.

Other assets that will not go through the California probate process:

  • Assets that were in joint tenancy and will go to the joint owner, which could be land, property, vehicles, or a bank account, for instance
  • Life insurance policies, IRAs, and similar contracts with named beneficiaries
  • Assets owned through a living trust
  • Also, assets that were registered in the decedent’s name and are “transferable on death” to another person
  • Furthermore, assets registered by a married couple as community property with the right of survivorship
  • All assets that go to a surviving spouse, including those that the deceased person owned separately in his or her name, but were left in a will or by intestate succession to the surviving spouse

There is also a simplified legal process to avoid probate and assign assets to a spouse if there are no objections. It is called the Spousal Property Petition, and only a husband and wife can take advantage of this procedure. If you have additional questions about the California probate process, contact a qualified California probate attorney at 888-433-6590 today.

Living Trust (noun):

A Trust that is created while the Grantor is alive. The Grantor transfers the title of the property into the name of the Trustee during the Grantor’s lifetime for the use of the Beneficiary.

Community Property (noun):

Any property acquired or owned by a validly married couple. In the context of probate, if there is no will, community property will usually go entirely to the surviving spouse. To read more about community property click here.

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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