If the decedent owned property in California not exceeding $166,250 in value, the heirs or beneficiaries may file a simplified procedure with the Superior Court asking for an order to determine their right to take the property without probate administration. The petition is called a Petition to Determine Succession to Real Property. It is primarily used for real property, but also includes a request to determine the successor of certain personal property as well. If there is only personal property in the estate, the affidavit discussed above under “Personal Property” should be sufficient. When using this Petition procedure to collect or transfer real property under $166,250 in value, the following rules apply:
- At least 40 days must have elapsed since the death of the decedent before the affidavit or declaration is presented to the holder of the property.
- No administration proceedings may be pending or have been conducted or the decedent’s estate.
- The gross value of the real and personal property in the estate does not exceed $166,250 (excluding the allowed exceptions).
This abbreviated proceeding can be used to transfer title to real property under $166,250 more quickly than is allowed under the affidavit procedure, which has a six-month waiting period.