If someone has passed away, and the gross value of their countable property does not exceed $150,000, the person entitled to claim such property does not have to open a probate case. In fact, you may not have to go to court at all. There is a much simpler way to access this property: By drafting a 13100 or “small estate” affidavit.
Probate Code Section 13100 states the following:
“Excluding the property described in Section 13050, if the gross value of the decedent's real and personal property in this state does not exceed one hundred fifty thousand dollars ($150,000) and if 40 days have elapsed since the death of the decedent, the successor of the decedent may, without procuring letters of administration or awaiting probate of the will, do any of the following with respect to one or more particular items of property:
(a) Collect any particular item of property that is money due the decedent.
(b) Receive any particular item of property that is tangible personal property of the decedent.
(c) Have any particular item of property that is evidence of a debt, obligation, interest, right, security, or chose in action belonging to the decedent transferred, whether or not secured by a lien on real property.”
How it works
Essentially, 40 days after death, you take a sworn written affidavit (with supporting documents, such as a death certificate) to the institution holding the property. The affidavit will attest that the conditions laid out in the statute are true in your case, and they give you the property.
This is very handy after someone has passed, and you need (relatively) quick access to funds to pay expenses (or reimburse yourself for funds paid). Often times the bank will have their own form for you to fill out. If not, any probate attorney can draft one for you.
Helix Law Firm can help with trust and estate administration
If someone has passed away, and you are entitled to take possession of the property, we can help you accomplish this. Depending on the value, you may not need to open a full probate case. And sometimes, as described above, you don't even have to go to court.
If you're interested in learning more, please call us at (619) 567-4447 to schedule a free consultation.