Probate Shortcuts for California Residents

The probate process can be long and expensive. This is especially true in California, where the Probate Code has mandated a statutory fee for services rendered by the probate attorney. This fee is made up of a specific percentage of the value of assets going through the process. As such, beneficiaries might be burdened by financial constraints while they try to sort everything out. Thankfully, the law provides several options that could help ease the probate procedure.

California law has streamlined procedures that could allow inheritors to forgo the lengthy probate process altogether. These procedures can be accomplished through a simple affidavit or petition, and is especially meant for smaller estates or for inheritors that are surviving spouses or registered domestic partners

Spousal or Domestic Partner Property Petition

A surviving spouse or registered domestic partner can have inherited assets transferred to their own estate through a Spousal or Domestic Partner Property Petition. All one has to do is fill out several required forms have everything filed to the state probate court for approval. Remember to attach the Will to the petition to make sure the process goes through smoothly. Without a Will, there could be limits to which assets can be transferred to the surviving spouse or partner.

Affidavit for Claiming Property

For smaller estates, the best avenue is to file an affidavit asking for transfer of personal property and assets. In California, this procedure is limited only for estates that are valued at no more than $150,000 or those with real estate with up to $50,000 in value. In these cases, all an inheritor has to do is create a short document that asserting their wish to transfer assets and have it signed under oath. The affidavit could take up to 2 to 6 months to process, depending on the type of assets and properties involved in the estate.

Even if these procedures are far simpler than the usual probate process, inheritors can still face a lot of hurdles if they expect to do everything on their own. It’s always best to seek out legal counsel in order to avoid any difficult scenarios. A Houston lawyer may be able to help you learn more about alternative legal options like the ones discussed here.