Estate Law Questions? Ask an Estate Lawyer.
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I am sorry to hear of your loss. This is a difficult time. One moment please as I review the rest of your question.
If the brothers were listed as beneficiaries on the account (i.e. a pay on death account), then this property would pass outside of probate, as a matter of law, and would not require anything other than the death certificate. The named beneficiary would automatically be entitled to the property.
For the 401K, this would go to her named beneficiary, and also pass outside of probate, unless the named beneficiary pre-deceased her.
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If your sister had a small estate, then there is a simplified procedure. I'll get that information for you.
If she left less than $150K, then please see the third item down http://www.courts.ca.gov/8865.htm "If the person who died left $150,000 or less". It will instruct you exactly what to do. However, again, if the bank accounts and 401K have beneficiaries listed on the document itself, it passes outside of probate. You may need to have an attorney contact the bank on the beneficiaries' behalf and explain this to their legal dept.
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