What Is A Small Estate Probate Transfer In California?
The California Probate Code allows for an affidavit to transfer very small estates. The limit for a small estate used to be a $150,000 but it changed on January 1, 2020. The limit for a small estate in California is now $166,250.
How Can Larger Estates In California Possibly Reduce The Portion Of Their Estate Made To Go Through Probate Down To A $166,250?
There is a lot of planning a person can do to reduce the size of their estate. You can always reduce the amount well below $166,250 with proper estate planning. For instance, on certain kinds of bank accounts and retirement accounts, there are beneficiary designations that can be made. You should go through all those options to make sure everything is either in a trust or has its beneficiary designation. That way, what is left for probate is well under $166,250.
What Can Be Done To Help Specifically With Disabled Spouse Property Transfers In California?
There is a section of the probate code that allows for the transfer of a jointly owned property to one spouse when the other spouse becomes permanently disabled. This is used in a situation where one spouse has developed dementia or another injury and no longer has capacity to transfer the property. You can petition the court and provide medical records. The court can order real property transferred into the name of one spouse for estate planning purposes or for sale for healthcare costs or other expenses.
What Is A California Heggstad Petition?
A Heggstad petition is a probate saving device. When someone has a valid trust and they have neglected to put real property into the trust, this is a way of saving the situation and not having to resort to probate. The Heggstad petition allows someone to ask the court to include property that was never in a trust.
Why Is The Heggstad Petition Better Than Probate?
As most people know, probate takes approximately a year to complete. It is very expensive and there are a lot of steps. It holds up the real property for a long time. A Heggstad petition requires one appearance in court. If the court approves it, that court will issue an order that avoids the entire probate process.
When Can I File A Heggstad Petition?
It is proper to file a Heggstad petition after the death of the initial trustee of a trust or when someone is attempting to administer the trust and they discover that the real property was never deeded to the trust.
How Does A Heggstad Petition Work? What Are The Requirements For A Successful Heggstad Petition?
The requirements for a Heggstad petition in California are that there is the existence of a valid trust. A person has to have done their estate planning and a valid trust was created. Also, the real property in question has to appear on one of the schedules of assets in the trust. The trust has to refer to that property as being in the trust, although it was never actually deeded into the trust.
How Long Does A Heggstad Petition Take?
You file the Heggstad petition, receive your hearing date, and present all your evidence to the judge. If it is approved at that time, it may take a couple of weeks for the court to order that the property is in the estate. In this area, considering the backlog of the courthouses, I would expect the process to take three to four months.
Are There Any Other Alternative Ways To Avoid Probate In California, Perhaps For Someone Who Didn’t Plan Properly?
You really need to consult a good probate attorney in order to see if there are any steps that can be taken to avoid probate before committing to a full long formal probate process.
What Are Some Of The Qualifications I Should Look For In An Attorney Who Has This Type Of Experience?
The hallmark is experience. You want to find someone who is very familiar with Heggstad petitions. It is not a beginner’s process. Look for experience, word of mouth, and other attorneys’ referrals. Those can guide you in the right direction.
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