• How to Settle Small Estates with Real Property Valued Under $50,000

How to Settle Small Estate with Real Property Valued Under $50,000

After a person dies, their assets and property need to be distributed to the decedent’s heirs.  In the past , this required filing a full probate court proceeding.  In California probate is an expensive and lengthy procedure. The good news is there are other options. California has set up several other probate options to settle small valued estates. This article will explain how to settle a small estate with real property valued under $50,000.

What our Clients Say...
I used A People’s Choice for the preparation and filing of court documents in connection with probate for my sister’s estate.  I began the probate process in pro per without knowing of the services of A People’s Choice.  After many trips to the LA Court house and attempting to interpret the requirements for each filing, I heard of A People’s Choice.  Fantastic find!  I hired this firm after discovering the difficultly in processing the probate by myself.  Very knowledgeable with good technology to keep me informed along the process of their filing of numerous documents.  Their fees were significantly less than what I would have had to pay for an attorney yet their services were excellent and I could not see where an attorney would have been any better (or as good).I highly recommend this service.
Ron C.
“I can’t say enough about the level of service and professionalism I received working with A People’s Choice. Emails were always responded to quickly and thoughtfully. They really care about the process and helping you get the best result with no up-selling. Of course, they can’t provide legal advice, but I was referred to an attorney when I needed some questions answered who was very reasonable and easy to get a hold of as well. The process played out according to plan and I ended up saving a lot of money by going with A People’s Choice over an attorney.”
M. Rice
“I am writing to give A People’s Choice my utmost recommendation. I live in New England and found them on the web. After speaking with a staff member on the phone I had the confidence to give them my business. A People’s Choice handled my probate case with great professionalism and knowledge. My case turned out to be more complicated than originally believed and the staff walked me through each step. They always responded promptly to my email questions. In the end, their service was exactly what I hoped for; they saved me thousands of dollars and allowed me to do it from across the country. They were truly a pleasure to work with.”
K. Levenson
“A People Choice provided excellent support with the appropriate legal documents and filing process in a spousal property petition after my husband passed. Lawyers wanted to charge me a fortune. However, once I spoke with someone at A People’s Choice, they took on my case and guided me through every step. A People’s Choice has years of experience which gave me a sense of trust and confidence. I always got immediate feedback from every email request. If you have a need for probate help, I would highly recommend A People’s Choice.”
Sylvia A
“I had a great experience with my probate using A People’s Choice! The people that assisted me were so helpful.  I could not have done this probate by myself.  I was able to save over 10,000 in lawyer fees!  All my emails were always returned so quickly, and I am a very satisfied customer.  I would highly recommend A People’s Choice to all my friends and family!”
Joi C
“APC did a great job with my father’s probate case. I highly recommend them. Professional staff!!! Probably saved me about $10k.”
Eric N
“When my mother in-law passed away last year, we didn’t know what to do. We contacted A People’s Choice and from day one they were very helpful. They almost held our hand every step of the way, and if I had a question any time of the day or night someone got back to me within a few hours. I highly recommend A People’s Choice if you don’t know what to do and don’t want to pay the high price of a lawyer especially if you don’t have much money.”
Mikki C
“A People’s Choice helped us throughout our entire year-long probate making the process very easy and manageable while at the same time saving us thousands of dollars in lawyer’s fees. Not only were they extremely friendly and fast to respond to our questions but they made the process simple enough that we hardly ever had to contact the courthouse directly and we even had a hearing done without an appearance. Would highly recommend A People’s Choice to anyone!”
A. Vuckovich
“A People’s Choice is a very responsible and effective company, staff there is very nice and replied to all my questions by email quickly. With their help, I accomplished the probate in 8 months successfully and saved at least $10,000.00 in attorney fees, so I strongly recommend everybody to contract with A People’s Choice and let them to help you with your legal documents. You will be very satisfied with their work as I did!!!!”
C. Chiu
“A People’s Choice walked me through the entire probate process. They are so professional and helpful. Thank you to the staff for your guidance and patience to talk me through such difficult time. You made the process very smooth for me. I am so glad that I found you.” 
Sandie K.
“The staff at A People’s Choice made a scary Probate pretty much stress free. I would send an email with a question I had thought of over the weekend with the expectation that I would get an answer on Monday. Lo and behold, I often got an answer within minutes! We are very pleased and will be referring our friends/family to A People’s Choice!”
L. Garrett
“Thanks to A People’s Choice I was able to get through a probate matter very smoothly. I had not one issue with the Courts. They guided me through the whole probate until the very end. I live up north but that didn’t matter, A People’s Choice did an excellent job keeping me informed with everything that I needed to do. I saved THOUSANDS of dollars by going with A People’s Choice. You can’t go wrong, no matter what your needs are. I saved a lot of money by not having to pay out a percentage to any attorney. I want to thank the staff at A People’s Choice for the great help they give to everyone in their times of need. Like I was! Thank You.”
R. Leonard
“When my father passed away without a will, we needed help handling the transfer of his assets. Since there weren’t significant assets, I didn’t want to spend too much on the legal paperwork. A People’s Choice offered just the right service we needed. In particular, the staff was very responsive to our document filing needs, helping to turn around corrections almost immediately. They helped to ease a tough situation.”
Michael C.
“I used A People’s Choice for help with a probate matter. My grandfather died Christmas of 2016. He had a living trust, but no one was able to find it. We went to A People’s Choice and we were able to do a probate affidavit to get what was left of my grandfather’s estate. Took two days for the documents to be prepared and the bank accepted them without any questions. Sandy was the one who assisted us, and we really appreciate the help that was provided. A+ service.”
David R.
“A People’s Choice worked on my probate case for over 1 year. Their knowledge, dedication and commitment to clients is exceptional. They prepared all the required legal documents, and all the court filings. They used the e-filing system, which initially I was hesitant about, but I’m so glad they did. It really expedited the process. They always answered my emails in a very timely manner and was always professional. The probate process is long and sometimes seems overwhelming. It’s also very expensive, A People’s Choice saved me thousands of dollars over going to an Attorney. I would highly recommend A People’s Choice for your probate needs, it’s cost effective, and they handle the entire process from beginning to end. They do a great job!”
“A People’s Choice was professional and courteous throughout a long probate process. Probate itself is a frustrating and expensive process; however, everyone I came in contact with at A People’s Choice was exceptionally helpful, patient, and professional. For those entering into the probate process I must warn you that it is difficult to understand but the staff at A People’s Choice makes it as tolerable you could wish for.  The people who work there were kind, efficient, and understanding.  As long as you email them your questions, they will get back to you and they will not make you feel like you are ignorant if you are unclear about any part of the process.”
Marcel B
“I needed help understanding and filling out legal documents, but I didn’t have enough money to pay for an attorney. I searched the internet for a short period of time looking for help and when I found A People’s Choice, I was relieved to know that I would get the exact service that I needed at an affordable price. The staff was very professional and helpful with my legal documents. They worked around my schedule and responded to my emails on a timely manner. They took care of all the paperwork and filing and kept me posted. I would highly recommend A People’s Choice for your legal documents as you will get outstanding service at an affordable price. “
Sharon B.

Get help to Settle a Small Estate with Real Property!

  • or call 1-800-747-2780

What is a Small Estate?

A small estate is typically one where the total value of the decedent’s assets is less than $150,000.  To file a small estate court probate, the estate must include both personal and real property.

Keep in mind, however, that some assets don’t count when calculating the value of an estate.  These assets include:

  • property in joint tenancy
  • assets that pass to a surviving spouse
  • accounts that have multiple owners in joint tenancy
  • life estates
  • property set up with a properly recorded Transfer on Death Deed
  • life insurance benefits with a direct pay-on-death to specific beneficiaries
  • vehicles
  • assets held in trust
  • unpaid salary valued at $5,000 or less.

Overview of Small Estate Probate Affidavit Procedure

One of several simplified probate procedures is the affidavit procedure under California Probate Code §13200.  This process allows heirs to settle a small estate with real property valued under $ 50,000. Once completed, the process can quickly transfer the real property to the heirs, regardless of the total value of the estate.

The main advantage of using this procedure, as opposed to probate, is that there is no court hearing, making the process much cheaper and faster.

How to Settle Small Estate With Real Property Valued Under $50,000

To use this small estate procedure, the following must be true:

  • At least six months must have passed from the death of the decedent.
  • All of the funeral expenses, medical expenses, and outstanding unsecured debts of the decedent must be paid before using this method.
  • If a probate proceeding has already been filed for the decedent’s estate, this procedure requires permission in writing from the estate administrator.

To transfer property this way, the heirs can file an Affidavit re Real Property of Small Value with the superior court in the county in which the property is located. Here is what you need to know:

  • This affidavit requires an inventory and appraisal of the decedent’s real property.
  • A probate referee must sign the inventory and appraisal
  • The affidavit must also include a certified copy of the death certificate.
  • The affidavit and attachments are filed with the clerk of court.
  • If the clerk determines the form is complete, the clerk will issue a certified copy of the form.
  • The petitioners can then take this form and record it with the county recorder’s office, and the transfer to heirs will be complete.
  • This process will only transfer real property, not personal property.

Disadvantages of Using Simplified Probate Procedures

Now that you know how to settle a small estate with real property valued under $50,000, there are other considerations. First, there are times when it may not be ideal to use a simplified probate procedure.  If the heirs are not in agreement, then you may want to settle the estate through full probate and not a simplified process.  Secondly, the heirs must pay all unsecured debts before filing and using this process. In this regard, if the decedent had many obligations, a formal probate procedure is more favorable.

In contrast, full probate allows the petitioner to take advantage of the probate code’s rules for settling debts.  Although a rare occurrence, some companies will refuse to accept an affidavit, which will require the estate to go through a formal probate proceeding. When you want to how to settle a small estate with real property, you should give thoughtful consideration to the pros and cons of this process.

Low-Cost Probate Help For Small Estates

Remember, filing probate in California does not need to be expensive! A People’s Choice has 39+ years of extensive experience in helping people complete California probate cases. Now that you know how to settle a small estate with real property valued under $50,000, we recommend you contact A People’s Choice. It’s true, you don’t need to complete the paperwork on your own, and you don’t need to hire an attorney! We are a full-service document preparation office and will prepare all the required documents for your small estate case. Also, we will help to file and manage the case until you complete it.

Don’t delay. Call today at 800-747-2780. Professional help is only a phone call away!

Get help with your 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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By |2019-05-12T08:40:03-07:00December 9th, 2018|Probate|0 Comments

About the Author:

Sandra M. McCarthy, founder of A People’s Choice Inc., has worked exclusively in the legal field since 1976. She served as the 2004-2005 President of CALDA (California Association of Legal Document Assistants). She obtained a Paralegal Certificate from the University of California, Santa Barbara. During her career in the legal field, she has worked as a freelance paralegal, law office manager and paralegal studies teacher, and has co-authored numerous legal publications and written hundreds of self-help legal articles. As a registered Legal Document Assistant, Sandy is dedicated to providing affordable, low-cost, self-help document preparation services for California consumers in all 58 counties.

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