Small Estate Transfers

Not every asset requires a probate or court proceeding. Some assets bypass formal probate or court proceedings altogether. Most commonly, assets in living trusts avoid probate and court intervention. However, there are numerous other types of assets that will be distributed upon a deceased person’s death without probate. For example, assets held in joint tenancy or community property with right of survivorship form typically transfer to the surviving joint tenant or spouse without probate. Or, beneficiaries named on contracts (such as life insurance policies, pay-on-death accounts and retirement plan accounts) receive the asset without probate (assuming the beneficiary designations are proper and the beneficiary can properly receive the asset.)

Of importance is that California has adopted numerous laws to allow smaller assets to pass to beneficiaries without the necessity of formal probate. Typically, the gross estate of the deceased person must be less than $150,000 and certain other conditions also apply. However, once these conditions are met, the estate may be distributed without the intervention of formal probate court proceedings.

My services include:

  • Small Estate Transfers
  • Beneficiary Designations: planning, drafting, filing and collecting
  • Joint Tenancy Assets: advice, handling and collection
  • Community Property Assets: advice, handling and collection
  • Retirement Accounts: planning, drafting, filing and collection

I have advised clients with numerous types of assets and accounts. I will explain to you in plain English the significance of ownership and registration of an asset/account and what options for distribution are available to you. I can prepare documents and forms required by institutions to have a deceased person’s assets distributed. And, where need be, I can prepare and file petitions in court to seek court instructions or redress to have an asset distributed.

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