• california simplified probate procedures

California Simplified Probate Procedures Allow Transfer of Real Property

Avoiding the probate process when transferring a decedent’s property to heirs or beneficiaries can decrease one’s stress level when dealing with a decedent’s estate. It is sometimes possible to take advantage of various California simplified probate procedures to transfer property without going through probate court. There are two main ways of transferring real property through optional California simplified probate procedures that will avoid the estate having to endure a lengthy probate proceeding. For decedent’s that did not own real property at the time of death, transfer of non-real property personal assets can typically be resolved by a simple affidavit if the assets total under $150,000.

Transfer Real Property Valued at $50,000 or Less Using California Simplified Probate Procedures

If the real property is valued at $50,000 or less, one may transfer the ownership through affidavit. The earliest an heir or beneficiary may file an affidavit to transfer real property is six months after the decedent died. After those six months, the heir or beneficiary may file an affidavit in the county in which the decedent lived before he or she died, or if the deceased lived out-of-state, in a county where he or she owned real property. In order to make use of this process, one must first pay off the deceased’s unsecured debts and funeral costs.   The affidavit must contain the following information: (1)   The decedent’s name; (2)   The date and place of decedent’s death; (3)  A legal description of the real property; (4) The percentage ownership or interest the decedent held in the real estate; (5)  Confirmation that the total gross value of all the decedent’s real property in California does not exceed $50,000; (6) Language as provided in the statute stating that there is no probate case pending, or that the personal representative of the estate allowed for the filing of the affidavit; (6) Additional statements as required by law.

Transfer Real Property Valued at $150,000 or Less Using California Simplified Probate Procedures

For real property valued at $150,000 or less, one may transfer title via court order. One may also make use of this process to transfer a combination of real and personal property, but not personal property alone. There are certain kinds of real property that are excluded from this process, including property held jointly between the decedent and others, property held in trusts, or other property excluded under law. One may not include any of these types of property in a current or past probate proceeding, and all heirs must sign off on transferring the real property through affidavit. The person seeking transfer must file a petition to determine succession to real property with the Court Clerk, and set a hearing. Five days before the hearing, that person must also file an order determining succession to real property. Once the petition is approved and the judge signs off on it, the petitioner may obtain title. The petitioner is then responsible for settling the decedent’s debts, up to the value of the property at the time of death. In order to get marketable title, that is, title that is fully transferable in a sale without any doubt about ownership, the petitioner should take the certified copy of the affidavit or court order to the County Recorder of the county where the real property is located.

Low-Cost Help For California Simplified Probate Procedures

If you are considering utilizing one of the California simplified probate procedures to settle an estate in California and want to avoid the high cost of attorney’s fees, contact A People’s Choice for low-cost legal document help. Although we cannot give legal advice, A People’s Choice can help you in preparing all the required legal documents to help you settle the estate through a California simplified probate process without having to hire a lawyer.

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!


If you need more information about California probate and the various California simplified probate procedures that are available, do not hesitate to call our office. A People’s Choice has been providing self-help legal document services for over 35 years and has established an excellent reputation in the community.  Probate does not have to be expensive and you do not need an attorney to file probate. You can start the probate process through our convenient online system, over the phone or in person.

By |2018-04-20T00:36:06-07:00April 19th, 2018|Estate Planning, Probate, Real Property|4 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.


  1. Debbie August 20, 2018 at 1:49 pm - Reply

    • My brother died without a will in California on 06/20/2017
    • He has no children and no living heirs other than me (his sister)
    • He and his wife own 3 properties in California; 2 of which are as joint tenants
    • But, 1 Property is owned as tenants in common; 50% his, 50% hers
    • Property was purchased in 1/2007; my brother married her in 2/2011
    • The Declaration of the Probate Referee of (1/2) interest in the real property is $141,000
    • She and her lawyer filed a Petition to Determine Succession; more specifically a Joinder to Petition to Determine Succession to Real Property. In the Petition I was asked to: 1) declare that I am the sister of the decedent; and, 2) to join the petition which transfers his interest in the property to her solely.

    First of all, he was my last living immediate family member. If my brother had a will he would have included me in the distribution of some of his assets. I do not have any of the family pictures or holiday decorations though I’ve requested them from her on numerous occasions.

    Secondly, she has requested that I transfer his interest to her without even discussing it with me. When I sked if she would think about giving me some small compensation for signing the petition to transfer the property to her solely she called me some terrible names and said that I was extremely selfish and self-centered. Said she would never speak to me again and that she would inform my cousins of my selfish behavior. It was terribly loud and upsetting to be treated in this manner. She ended the call by saying she would see me in court. This property is an impediment for her setting up a living trust.

    What are my options here? What would most reasonable people do in my situation? Your feedback is greatly appreciated!

    • Sandy McCarthy August 20, 2018 at 8:53 pm - Reply

      This is a very sad story but we would not be able to advise you. Obviously if want to object to her petition, you should file an objection!Give is a call if you need help.

  2. cindy Lancaster February 9, 2017 at 11:23 pm - Reply

    My mother has passed away (10/25/16 ) there are 7 children and 2 nephews of our oldest brother who has passed. My question is I received a Petition to determine succession to real property (less than $150,000 )
    My question is : My mother owned a small property that was being sold prior to her passing . I believe this petition is so that property can continue with the sale… What happens if one sibling will not sign this petition? Can the property be sold? Thanks for your help , Cindy Lancaster clancaster44@hotmail.com

    • Sandy McCarthy February 10, 2017 at 12:05 am - Reply

      Typically these small estate proceedings require all beneficiaries to Petition and sign the documentation. Therefore if one beneficiary is not willing to sign then you may have to file a full probate proceeding. I would suggest speaking with an attorney first to see what they suggest. We can assist with the filing of a full probate should that be necessary. You might have a discussion with the unwilling beneficiary indicating that if they do not sign that most likely it will cost the estate thousands of dollars more and in the end, they will simply get less.

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