Are There Simplified Types of Probate in the State of California? Under the California Probate Code, there are certain types of simplified probate procedures available—known as summary probate. Through this simplified process, the will of the decedent is honored and some or all assets distributed, without the need for full probate in court. This simplified procedure is not only quicker, but it is less expensive. Your estate is eligible for simplified probate if it falls into one of the following categories:
- Some assets inherited by a surviving spouse or registered domestic partner can take advantage of a Spousal Property Petition, which will be submitted to the probate court for approval. There is no limit on the value of property which can be transferred via the Spousal Property Petition.
- A Small Estate Affidavit allows inheritors to skip probate when the total value of all assets left by the decedent is less than a specific amount. That amount is $166,250 in 2020. The inheritor need only prepare a short affidavit, claiming under penalty of perjury certain things, including that he or she is entitled to a specific asset. Once the person or institution who is currently holding the property receives the affidavit and a death certificate, the asset is released. In order to take advantage of a Small Estate Affidavit, the value of the estate must be no more than $166,250 (in 2020) and can only be used after 40 days from the decedent’s date of death. If the property is real estate, that value is lower, or $55,425 (in 2020).