Do I have assets which would trigger probate in California? Many people either do not know of the Probate process in California or they do not know what assets would trigger probate. This article will describe what assets cause your estate to go through the probate process and what assets do not trigger probate.
Probate Triggering Assets
First you will want to figure out if the value of the property (the estate) is worth $150,000 or less. To do this:
Do Not Include
If the Estate is valued under $150,000
If the estate is valued under $150,000 following the calculation methods above then a Small Estate Affidavit can be filed. California has a procedure that allows inheritors to skip probate altogether when the value of all the assets left behind is less than $150,000. All an inheritor has to do is prepare a short document, stating that he or she is entitled to a certain asset. This document, signed under oath, is called an affidavit. When the person or institution holding the property — for example, a bank where the deceased person had an account gets the affidavit and a copy of the death certificate, it releases the asset.
If the estate is valued above $150,000
If the estate is valued above $150,000, then a probate must be filed. If probate is necessary, someone must come forward to start the process. If there is a will, the executor named in the will should start the process. If there is no will, or the person named to serve as executor is not available, then usually a family member asks the court to be appointed as the “administrator” of the estate.
In most states, lawyers charge by the hour or collect a flat fee for probate work. Not so in California. It’s one of only a few states that let lawyers charge a “statutory fee”—an amount that is a percentage of the value of the assets that go through probate. The percentages are set out in state statutes. (Cal. Probate Code § § 10810, 10811.)