Simplified Probate Proceedings In California
By Allyson S. Heller
When a person dies in California with real or personal property held outside of a trust, then thedecedent’s assets must be administered under the court’s supervision through a process known as“probate.” Probate proceedings can cost tens of thousands of dollars in statutory fees andadministrative costs and can take years to resolve. Fortunately, in California, there are a number of simplified court proceedings available undercertain circumstances, which enable some individuals to avoid the time and expense of a fullprobate administration. Below, I discuss three of the most common simplified probate petitions.If the decedent was married or in a registered domestic partnership at the time of his or her death,then the surviving spouse or registered domestic partner may be eligible to file what is known asa Spousal or Domestic Partner Property Petition. This petition asserts that administration of allor part of the estate is unnecessary because the property consists of assets passing to a survivingspouse. Alternatively, in cases where the gross value of the decedent’s total combined real propertyassets is less than $55,425.00, we can file what is known as an Affidavit for Transfer of RealProperty of Small Value to transfer the property to the decedent’s heirs without the need for afull probate administration.Finally, if the decedent had a living trust but had assets that were not properly titled to the trust,then we can potentially file what is known as a Heggstad Petition to transfer those assets into thetrust without formal probate proceedings.These simplified probate petitions and others can significantly reduce the time and expense of estate administration; however, it is crucial that you consult with an experienced estate planning attorney to assess your situation and see whether any of these simplified procedures may apply toyou.Allyson S. Heller is a licensed attorney at the Law Offices of Tony J. Tyre, ESQ, APC. For more information, please contact our office at (626) 858-9378, or firstname.lastname@example.org.