Oftentimes, individuals who choose to “DIY” their probate will download blank forms from the Internet. However, it’s incredibly important to obtain your California probate forms from reputable sources. Therefore, we’ve provided below links to the most common forms required to probate an estate in California. Additionally, we’ve provided information about where you can get free and low-cost probate help for many different situations.

Unfortunately, filling out probate forms on your own can be overwhelming. If you are completing a DIY probate, consider contacting A People’s Choice. We are an inexpensive, non-attorney legal document assistant with over 40 years experience preparing and filing California probate forms!

California Probate Forms For Small Estates

There are three small estate processes in California that allow 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 settling an estate in California in the case of a decedent who did not own real property and had personal assets under $166,250. Under this section of the probate code, estate representatives can submit an affidavit to the institution holding the decedent’s personal property in order to transfer the assets to the proper beneficiaries.

This affidavit saves you from a formal court probate process. However, note that you must notarize the affidavit and submit it alongside a death certificate.

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, executors 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)

The court does not require a hearing to settle 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. All beneficiaries can jointly file this process. Additionally, this procedure requires a hearing to settle the transfer of real property. Furthermore, executors must submit the following California probate forms 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)

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 themselves using a simplified probate proceeding. Typically, this proceeding requires one court appearance. This appearance 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)

Additionally, you must attach a copy of the decedent’s will and 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, you must file the following California probate forms to initiate full probate of an estate:

  1. DE-111 (Petition for Probate)
  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 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 Find Free California Probate Forms

Keep in mind that the forms identified above are a brief reference to the primary forms required for probate in California. In fact, there are many additional attachments and declarations that you will need to include with these standard documents. That said, if you’re looking for blank, DIY California probate forms, you can obtain them from the following sources:

  • Local courthouse website
  • Local self-help center
  • Online California state website
  • Local county courthouse website
  • A probate service provider such as A People’s Choice

Things to Keep in Mind About California Probate 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. However, keep in mind that not all required probate documents are judicial council forms. Instead, some necessary documents are custom pleadings and usually require expert help to prepare them. Further, you must prepare these documents from scratch on court pleading paper.

Additionally, there may also be a difference between using mandatory county local forms and the judicial council forms. This is, in large part, due to local county court rules regarding the formatting of pleadings. Oftentimes, executors require an attorneys’ knowledge and experience to properly prepare these court-specific documents. Therefore, you may benefit from hiring a lawyer if your local county court has specific requirements.

Low Cost Help With California Probate Forms

Even if you require assistance filling out your probate paperwork, you do not necessarily need to hire an attorney. Instead, contact A People’s Choice first to learn about our low-cost legal document assistance services. We can help you prepare all of the required California probate forms to settle your estate. Plus, our services cost a fraction of the price of a lawyer’s. Call 1-800-747-2780 to speak with us about your DIY probate.

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!


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