Avoiding Probate for Small Estates in California

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Avoid California Probate

“Probate” is the court-supervised administration of a decedent’s estate. The procedure begins with the filing of a petition with a probate court for the probate of a decedent’s will or for letters of administration if there is no will. The probate proceeding involves “proving the will” (if there is a will), appointing the personal representative, determining the decedent’s assets which are subject to probate, determining and paying the decedent’s debts and taxes, and transferring title to the beneficiaries (if there is a will) or to the heirs at law (if there is no will). For more information about probate and the transfer of real property, please see this article, California Probate Sales of Real Property. The probate proceeding, generally, is required only for property to which the decedent directly held title at his or her death, and not property which is indirectly held, property owned by contract, or which passes by operation of law to another at the decedent’s death. The following property is not subject to probate administration: Property held in a trust Property held by decedent as a fiduciary or as trustee for another Property held in joint tenancy Property held in a multi-party account Property which is a life estate Property held as community property with the right of survivorship United States Savings Bonds TOD (Transfer on Death ) Registered Securities Property owned by contract such as life insurance proceeds (unless the policy directs payment to “the estate”) Benefits payable to a designated beneficiary such as retirement programs, IRA or Keogh plans, deferred compensation … Read More

Intestate Succession in California

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Intestate Succession

The laws of Intestate Succession in California are found in Sections 6400 – 6413 of the California Probate Code. The following is a table designed to simplify the manner in which separate property is distributed when someone dies and does not leave a will (they passed on “intestate,” without a will). 1. If there is a surviving spouse but no surviving children, parents, brothers and sisters: DECEDENT SPOUSE ALL TO SURVIVING SPOUSE 2. If there is a surviving spouse and one surviving child, child of a child, or no surviving child but there is a surviving parent, parent’s child, or parent’s children’s children: 1/2 TO SURVIVING SPOUSE 1/2 TO CHILD 1/2 TO PARENTS 1/2 TO PARENT’S CHILDREN 1/2 TO PARENT’S CHILDREN’S CHILDREN 3. If there is a surviving spouse and more than one surviving child, or if there is one surviving child and children of a deceased child or children of two or more deceased children: DECEDENT SPOUSE 1/3 TO SURVIVING SPOUSE 2/3 TO CHILDREN 2/3 TO CHILD AND CHILDREN OF DECEASED CHILD 2/3 TO CHILDREN OF TWO OR MORE DECEASED CHILDREN 4. If there is no surviving spouse: CHIDLDREN PARENTS PARENT’S CJDIDREN GRANDPARENTS CHILDREN OF GRANDPARENTs· CHILDREN OF PREDECEASED SPOUSE NEXT OF KIN PARENTS OF PREDECEASED SPOUSE. CHILDREN OF PARENTS OF PREDECEASED SPOUSE STATE OF CALIFORNIA

Santa Cruz Probate Realtor

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Are you looking for an experienced Santa Cruz probate Realtor? When a person dies, their estate (including real estate) may need to pass through the probate process.  This is the legal process whereby a deceased person’s assets & debts are disbursed and settled. When the sale of real property (house, condo, land, etc.) is subject to probate, it typically requires that there be a court that oversees the sale of the asset. Your Santa Cruz probate real estate broker will help tremendously with the task of completing the sale of the estate’s real property assets. As a Santa Cruz Certified Probate Real Estate Specialist (CPRES), I work with the executor, administrator, family members, representatives, and/or attorneys handling the probate sale to speed and facilitate the preparation for sale, marketing and negotiation for sale of the property. Santa Cruz Probate Realtor Services A few of the Concierge Services provided for a Santa Cruz probate sale sale include: Cleaning of the Property Sprucing up the Landscaping Sale and Disposal of personal property Obtain competitive bids from multiple contractors for repairs to the property to boost the sale price and net proceeds from the sale Inspect the property weekly to make sure it is safe and secure Stage the home for maximum appeal to buyers Taylor a marketing strategy that best fits the property, market, and the estate’s needs Loading the property on the Santa Cruz MLS (Multiple Listing Service) with professional, high-quality photos and video tour Featured the Listing on Major Real Estate Portals such as Zillow, etc. Negotiate the very highest price for the property, on the best terms Oversee the closing process to make sure all mandatory disclosures are complete for the protection of the … Read More

California Probate Glossary

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Abatement A proportional diminution or reduction of the pecuniary legacies, when there are not sufficient funds to pay them in full. Ademption When property mentioned in a will cannot be given to a beneficiary because it no longer belonged to the deceased at the time of death. For example, the particular gift may have been destroyed, sold, or given away between the time of the will and the time of death. Administrator A person or institution appointed by a court to act on behalf of the deceased person in connection with the administration of a decedent’s estate. Administrator with Will Annexed (for Administrator CTA) An administrator appointed by a court to act on behalf of the deceased person who left a will, but where no nominated executor is willing and able to act. Affidavit A written statement or affirmation made under penalty of perjury that requires notarization. Ancillary Administration An administration of a decedent’s property located in a state other that the state of the decedent’s domicile. Beneficiary The individual or corporation who receives the benefit of a transaction (e.g., beneficiary of a life insurance policy, beneficiary of a trust, or beneficiary under a will.) Codicil An addition to a will, the codicil may modify, add to, subtract from, qualify, alter, or revoke provisions in the will. The codicil is a separate document. It is signed with the same formalities as a will. The codicil can be changed, revoked, cancelled, or destroyed at any time. Community Property Real or personal property that is owned in common … Read More

California Probate Timeline

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Step Time Frame Prepare and File Petition for Probate 1-2 months Court hearing on the Petition for Probate 1-2 months Prepare and File Petition for Probate 2-3 months The following are issued: Letters of Administration, Orders for Probate, Duties and Liabilities, Issue Bond (if ordered) **Letters of Testimentary ** 2-4 months (if not contested) Notice to Creditors 2-4 months Notice to Department of Health Services Inventory & Appraisement 4-8 months Pay State and Federal Taxes (if necessary) 6-12 months Allow or Reject Creditor Claims Possible Preliminary Distributions Notice to Department of Health Services (if deceased received medical) Notice to Franchise Tax Board (if heir is out of state) Claim of Exemption (if assets transfer to a minor) 6-15 months Receive Final Tax Letter from State and Federal (if appropriate) 6-18 months File Petition for Final Distribution and Accounting 8-16 months Hearing on Petition for final Distribution and Accounting Order Approving Final Distribution and Accounting Distribution of Assets to Heirs 9-17 months Final Discharge Order (indicates close of probate case) 9-18 months Final Distribution of Funds 9-18 months