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Probate Administration Attorney in San Leandro, California

Probate Administration

When someone dies without a living trust, the property remaining in their name must go through a court process to authorize someone to collect and distribute that property. This process is called “probate” and generally is a rather long and expensive process. Depending on the value of the estate, and whether or not it contains any real estate, there might be options to administer the estate as a “small estate” through a shorter and simplified process.

There is a misconception that having a Will prevents someone’s property from going through probate; however, a Will does not transfer property out of someone’s name (like a living trust does) and thus requires a court to appoint someone to represent the estate (the personal representative of the estate; called the “executor” if named in the decedent’s Will and called the “administrator” if there is no will or the appointed person is not named as executor by the will).

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Small Estate Administration

There are a few different procedures for administering a “small estate” but the availability of these options depends on the value of the property. Currently, there are three main “small estate” options:

  1. To collect personal property if the estate’s total value is less than $166,250.

  2. To transfer real estate if the “gross value” of all the decedent’s real estate in California is less than $55,425 (regardless of the value of the rest of the estate) – used mostly for fractional interests and timeshares.

  3. To transfer real estate valued at more than $55,425 if the estate’s total value is less than $166,250.
    *“Gross value” means debts and mortgages are not subtracted from the value.