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Personal Property

Handling Smaller Estates

When a decedent’s personal and real property does not exceed $150,000 in value, and if at least 40 days have passed since the death of the decedent, the successor(s) of the decedent may complete an Affidavit under Probate Code § 13000 and use that affidavit to obtain various types of personal property, including cash, tangible personal property, and outstanding debts payable to the decedent.

While this procedure can be relatively simple to use, it can only be used if the gross value of the decedent’s estate does not exceed $150,000. Calculating the gross value of the estate can be a little tricky. Probate Code § 13050 specifically excludes certain property from the “gross value of the estate” calculation, and should be reviewed carefully prior to executing an Affidavit under Probate Code § 13000, as described in Probate Code § 13101.

The most common problem with the use of the Probate Code § 13101 Affidavit involves the decedent’s debts. While debts can be limited and sometimes terminated through a probate proceeding, creditors can freely pursue beneficiaries and heirs who receive property from a decedent’s estate under such an Affidavit for an amount up to the value received by the beneficiary or heir.

As always, it is wise to consult with an experienced estate attorney before taking legal action. Give us a call today if you would like to schedule a meeting with one of our attorneys.

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