Looking for California probate forms? This article will give you links to common forms to probate an estate in California. You will also learn where you can get free and low-cost probate help for many types of cases. Unfortunately, filling out probate forms can be overwhelming. Consider contacting A People’s Choice, an inexpensive, non-attorney option with over 40 years of experience preparing and filing California probate forms. Read on to learn more about the probate forms necessary to settle various types of small estates as well as the forms required for complete probate.

California Probate Forms For Small Estates

There are three small estate processes in California that allow a decedent’s beneficiaries to settle estates valued under $166,250.

1. Non-Court Affidavit Process for Estates Valued Under $166,250 (Without Real Property)

California Probate Code section 13100 discusses the process of how to settle an estate in California if the decedent did not own real property and had personal assets under $166,250. Under this section of the probate code, an affidavit can be submitted to the institution holding the decedent’s personal property in order to transfer the assets to the proper beneficiary without having to go through a formal court probate process. You must notarize the affidavit. In addition, you must submit a death certificate with the affidavit to the institution holding the decedent’s personal property.

2. Court Process for Estates Valued Under $55,425 (Includes Real Property)

If the decedent owned real estate but the total value of the decedent’s real and personal property is less than $55,425, the beneficiaries can file an Affidavit regarding Real Property of Small Value. In this type of proceeding, you must complete the following probate forms and file them with the court:

  1. DE-305 (Affidavit)
  2. DE-160 (Inventory and Appraisal)
  3. DE-161 (Inventory and Appraisal Attachment)

No hearing is required when settling a decedent’s estate under this small estate process.

3. Small Estates with Real Property Under $166,250

California law requires small estates with real property valued over $55,425 but under $166,250 to be transferred by a court order. This process can be jointly filed by all beneficiaries and requires a hearing to settle the transfer of real property. The following California probate forms must be submitted to settle the estate using this small estate procedure:

  1. DE-310 (Petition to Determine Succession to Real Property)
  2. DE-160 (Inventory and Appraisal)
  3. DE-161 (Inventory and Appraisal Attachment)
  4. DE-120 (Notice of Hearing)
  5. DE-315 (Order on Petition to Determine Succession to Real Property)

As mentioned above, a hearing is required when settling a decedent’s estate under this small estate process.

California Probate Forms For Spousal Property Petition

A spousal property petition allows a surviving spouse or registered domestic partner to transfer or confirm property to the surviving spouse using a simplified probate proceeding. The proceeding usually requires one court appearance and settles questions of title or ownership regarding the surviving spouse’s interest in the decedent’s property. To begin the process, the surviving spouse or registered domestic partner must complete and file the following documents:

  1. DE-221 (Spousal or Domestic Partner Property Petition)
  2. DE-226 (Spousal or Domestic Partner Property Order
  3. DE-120 (Notice of Hearing)

You must attach a copy of the decedent’s will and a copy of his/her death certificate to the petition. The court will require a hearing when settling a decedent’s estate under this small estate process.

California Probate Forms For Large Estates

For estates valued greater than $166,250, the following California probate forms are needed to initiate full probate in California:

  1. DE-111 (Petition for Probate)
    1. Submit the original will along with this form in addition to the following forms:
  2. DE-121 (Notice of Petition to Administer Estate)
  3. DE-147 (Duties and Liabilities of Personal Representative)
  4. DE-140 (Order for Probate)
  5. DE-150 (Letters)

Once the court enters the Order for Probate and issues Letters, you will need the following additional probate forms to complete the probate process.

  1. Notice to Franchise Tax Board (Not a judicial council form. This is a custom pleading).
  2. DE-160 (Inventory and Appraisal)
  3. DE-161 (Inventory and Appraisal Attachment)
  4. DE 120 (Notice of Hearing of Petition For Final Distribution)
  5. Petition for Final Distribution (Not a judicial council form. This is a custom pleading).
  6. Beneficiary Receipts (Not a judicial council form. This is a custom pleading).
  7. DE – 295 (Ex Parte Petition for Final Discharge)

Where to Obtain California Probate Forms

Contact A People’s Choice for more information on completing the required California probate forms to settle your estate. Keep in mind, the forms identified above are a brief reference to the primary forms required. There are many additional attachments and declarations that you will need to include with these standard documents. You can obtain California probate forms from the following sources:

  1. Local courthouse website
  2. Local self-help center
  3. Online California state website
  4. Local county courthouse website
  5. A probate service provider such as A People’s Choice

Keep in mind that not all required probate documents are judicial council forms. Some necessary documents are custom pleadings and usually require expert help to prepare them. This is, in large part, due to local county court rules regarding the formatting of pleadings and the knowledge and experience required to properly prepare them.

Free California Probate Forms

Most of the sources above provide free judicial council California probate forms. Remember, the court may require some documents that are not “forms.” You must prepare these documents from scratch on court pleading paper. There may also be a difference between using mandatory county local forms and the judicial council forms. You should not have to pay for any California judicial council probate forms as they are always free through the California Court’s main website.

Low Cost Probate Forms Help

Did you know you don’t need an attorney to file probate in California?  Contact A People’s Choice for low-cost help preparing all of the required California probate forms to settle your estate. We provide legal document preparation services for probate filings in all California court jurisdictions. Call 1-800-747-2780 to speak with us.

Get help with your California legal documents today!

A People’s Choice can save you hundreds of dollars by preparing your legal documents instead of an expensive attorney!

GET STARTED!

We would love to know your thoughts on this article. Connect with us over on Google+ or Twitter