WHAT IS A SMALL ESTATE AFFIDAVIT?
If the estate consists solely of personal property (for example a bank account) and the gross value is under $166,250, you could complete an Affidavit (or Declaration) for Collection or Transfer of Personal Property under Probate Code §13100.
This is a form that one can print out and fill out themselves.
This is not a court procedure.
It must be at least 40 days since the date of death.
This cannot be used to transfer real property (land or buildings).
All persons entitled to receive assets must sign the affidavit and the signatures must be notarized.
This form can then be presented to banks, lenders, social media companies, etc., in order to prove your ownership of the asset or account.
WHO CAN APPLY FOR SMALL ESTATE AFFIDAVIT?
There are quite a few successors that can file for a small estate affidavit, but they must be somehow related to the decedent in order to claim a particular item. Specifically, for example a close friend, roommate, or a fiancée cannot apply for a small estate affidavit as they don't have standing under the statute.
13101 permits a “successor of the decedent (as defined in Section 13006 of the California Probate Code) to the decedent’s interest in the described property” to file the small estate affidavit or someone permitted to file on behalf of a decedent under 13051.
13006 states that either persons under a will or trust or any successors as defined by sections 6401 or 6402 can apply.
6401 defines provisions of decedent’s share if decedent had a surviving spouse and 6402 defines the whole lineage which to follow to determine if there is a successor, which includes children, parents, grandparents, uncles, children of pre-deceased spouse, next of kin, parents of a pre-deceased spouse.
AFFIDAVIT RE REAL PROPERTY OF SMALL VALUE
If the estate consists of real property worth $20,000 or less, you can complete an Affidavit re Real Property of Small Value. This typically applies to non-developed land-ownership as the value cap is very low.
The affidavit may be filed six months after death in the county of residence.
If the decedent was a non-resident of California, the affidavit may be filed in the county where the property is located.
This is filed with the court; however, there is no hearing set.
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