Probate Administration Attorney in San Leandro, California
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).
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:
To collect personal property if the estate’s total value is less than $166,250.
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.
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.