“Small Estates” for Personal Property Increased to $184,500

California law allows “small estates” of personal property (not land – also referred to as “real property”) to be collected without probate.  It is typically a very simple and inexpensive process, especially when compared to probating an estate.  One downside has been that a small estate’s gross value, until recently, had to be less than $166,250.00.

However, as of April 1, 2022, this amount has increased to $184,500.00 for deaths occurring after April 1, 2022. For deaths before April 1, 2022 the amount remains at $166,250.00.  See Probate Code §13100. and Probate Code §890. A list of of values for both personal and real property click here.

In order to use the procedure, all of the following must  be true:

  1. No probate proceedings have been initiated;
  2. 40 days must have elapsed since the decedent’s passing; and,
  3. The total gross value of assets is no greater than $150,000.00 not including the following assets:
    1. Joint tenancy property;
    2. Beneficiary designations;
    3. Motor vehicles registered with the DMV;
    4. Manufactured homes, campers, etc.
    5. Boats

This applies to both real property (houses and land) and personal property (all other property). However, if real real property is involved, a court request is necessary but is far quicker and less expensive than a full probate. Personal property can be collected by a affidavit so long as it meets certain requirements.  See Probate Code §13150.