California’s Updated Small Estate Values in 2022: Navigating Probate Procedures

Understanding Recent Changes and Probate Shortcuts for Small Estates

In 2022, California witnessed notable changes in the values associated with “small estate” probate procedures, affecting the way individuals handle the probate process for estates of a certain size. This article explores the updated figures and their implications, providing valuable insights for those navigating the intricacies of estate planning and probate in the Golden State.

Changes in Maximum Values:

Every three years, California adjusts the maximum values related to various “small estate” probate procedures. As of April 1, 2022, these changes came into effect, impacting key aspects of the probate process.

1. Maximum Value of Small Estate: $166,250 → $184,500

California offers several probate shortcuts for small estates, providing a more streamlined and cost-effective alternative to full-blown probate. The threshold for using the affidavit for small estates under Probate Code §13100 increased to $184,500 from $166,250, allowing a broader range of estates to qualify for simplified probate procedures.

2. Affidavit re: Real Property of Small Value: $55,425 → $61,500

For the transfer of real estate using an affidavit under Probate Code §13200, the maximum allowable value rose from $55,425 to $61,500. This adjustment reflects the state’s recognition of the changing real estate landscape and aims to facilitate smoother property transfers within the probate framework.

3. Values for Compensation Owed to Deceased Person: $16,625 → $18,450

Under Probate Code §13050, a specific amount of compensation owed to the deceased person, such as unpaid salary or unused vacation, can be excluded from the estate’s value. This exclusion has increased from $16,625 to $18,450, offering additional flexibility in determining whether an estate qualifies for a small estate affidavit procedure.

4. Amount Collectible by Spouse Using Affidavit: $16,625 → $18,450

Surviving spouses or registered domestic partners can now collect up to $18,450 in compensation owed to the decedent using a simple Affidavit of Compensation Owed to Deceased Spouse or Domestic Partner, up from the previous limit of $16,625. This adjustment recognizes the evolving cost of living and financial considerations.

5. Small Estate Set-Aside: $85,900 → $95,325

For estates where the net value (minus debts), excluding the home’s value, doesn’t exceed $95,325, the court can be petitioned to “set aside” the entire estate for the surviving spouse or domestic partner and minor children. This procedure, simpler than full-blown probate, now applies to a larger pool of estates, with the limit raised from $85,900 to $95,325.

Wrapping Things Up

Staying informed about changes in small estate values is crucial for anyone involved in estate planning or navigating the probate process in California. These adjustments reflect the state’s commitment to making probate procedures more accessible and efficient, saving both time and money for individuals managing small estates.

As we move forward, it’s essential to stay updated on such legal nuances, ensuring a smoother journey through the probate landscape in California. Whether you’re a legal professional or an individual managing an estate, these changes underscore the importance of periodic review and adaptation to evolving legal standards.

Laguna Legal: California Probate Experts

If you are in need of help with the probate process, or would like to set things up so that your loved ones do not have to go through probate, the team at Laguna Legal can help. Contact us today to get started! 

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