Probate law in California: Fewer Estates Subject to Probate

Pursuant to Assembly Bill 1305 fewer estates will be subject to probate in California come January 1, 2012. The legislation, signed by Governor Jerry Brown in July 2011, increases the maximum value of estates that are subject to court supervised probate. The maximum value of an estate to avoid California’s probate system has been raised from $100,000 to $150,000. Accordingly, estates valued less than $150,000 will not be subject to mandated court assisted probate. The maximum value for physical property, including real property, has been raised from $20,000 to $50,000. 

Prior to the enactment of AB 1305, small estates valued over $100,000 were subject to costly court supervised proceedings and possible litigation that could consume a large percentage of the estate. International estates with small investment accounts were typically victim of the $100,000 threshold thereby requiring probate proceedings prior to the distribution of any of the funds contained in an otherwise liquid account. 

The enactment of AB 1305 will provide some relief to beneficiaries of relatively small estates and is a welcome addition to California’s probate laws. 



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