A Court order determining succession to property in California is the topic of this blog post. This is also known as a summary or simplified probate proceeding as it is much quicker and less expensive than a standard probate proceeding in California.
The statutes in California governing a court order determining succession to property are found in Probate Code Sections 13150 through 13158. A California summary probate is initiated by the filing of a petition in the superior court for an order determining succession to real or personal property.
The petitioner must wait until at least 40 days have elapsed since the death of the decedent before filing the petition, and the gross value of the decedent’s real and personal property in California may not exceed $150,000. See Probate Code section 13151. This limit was only $100,000 prior to January 1, 2012. Note that a probate referee must complete and sign an inventory and appraisal certifying the amount of the gross value of the estate which must then be filed with the Court along with the petition.
Certain property is not counted in calculating the gross value of the estate as the value of the estate is calculated using the exclusions listed in Probate Code section 13050 which states in pertinent part that the following property is excluded:
Real property located outside California;
joint tenancy property;
property that goes outright to a surviving spouse;
life insurance, death benefits, and other assets not subject to probate that pass to named beneficiaries;
multiple-party accounts and payable-on-death accounts;
registered manufactured or mobile homes;
any numbered vessel;
registered motor vehicles;
salary including vacation pay due the decedent up to $15,000;
amounts due decedent for services in the armed forces, and
property held in trust, including a revocable living trust.
The simplicity of filing a petition to determine succession to real or personal property is a huge bonus. In some counties a hearing on the petition can be scheduled within 4-6 weeks from filing depending on the court calendar. The cost is much less than a standard probate no publication is required in an adjudicated newspaper although notice of the petition must be given to any heirs and all beneficiaries listed in any will.
The author of this blog post, Stan Burman, is a freelance paralegal who has worked in California and Federal litigation since 1995. If you are in need of assistance with any California or Federal litigation matters including Probate matters, Mr. Burman is available on a freelance basis. Mr. Burman may be contacted by e-mail at DivParalgl@yahoo.com for more information. He accepts payments through PayPal which means that you can pay using most credit or debit cards.
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Please note that the author of this blog post, Stan Burman is NOT an attorney and as such is unable to provide any specific legal advice. The author is NOT engaged in providing any legal, financial, or other professional services, and any information contained in this blog post is NOT intended to constitute legal advice.
The materials and information contained in this blog post have been prepared by Stan Burman for informational purposes only and are not legal advice. Transmission of the information contained in this blog post is not intended to create, and receipt does not constitute, any business relationship between the author and any readers. Readers should not act upon this information without seeking professional counsel.