(Your question I believe)
“My husband past away he did not have a will. He bought a mobile home as separate property. I gave him the down payment for the home. I helped with the up keep. Do I have to share it with his son who has not been around to help with anything? There is still a mortgage left on it. I rented it out so that the mortgage would be paid. His son seems to think he has claim. Will I have to go through probate?”
I am going to assume the mobile home is deemed real property and assessed property taxes and is not similar to a movable R.V. I am also assuming that though he purchased as his separate property, he purchased it during your marriage and you comingled community property during the maintenance and mortgage payments. By that I mean that you paid the mortgage payments out of your joint account and/or paid for the maintenance out of your joint account. I am also assuming that the deed is in his name only. If you own it as community property with right of survivorship then you own it upon his death and there is no need to probate it. Based on the assumption that it is in his name alone then it will require probate, but it may be a simpler probate that most.
You don’t qualify to use a small estate estate affidavit http://www.courts.ca.gov/documents/de305.pdf as that is limited to estates of less than $150,000 with the real property being worth less than $50,000.00. If it was $50K or less this would be the easiest option. This value is the gross value of the real property so you don’t deduct the mortgage from the value to determine if you can use the small estate affidavit.
In your case I would think a spouse could make a valid argument that even though the home was purchased as separate property, once the payments and/or maintenance was paid with community funds the property became community property. In that case, in California since he died leaving one son you will inherit all of the community property (mobile home along with other community property) and his son will inherit ½ of his separate property. See this chart though it is not the actual statute it is easier to read http://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/intestate-succession-california.html you can read the CA statute here http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/cgi-bin/displaycode?section=prob&group=06001-07000&file=6400-6414
In a case like this where the real property has a gross value of more than $50,000, but the total estate does not exceed $150,000 the spouse can use a simplified probate procedure. See this article that helps explain it scroll down to simplified procedure http://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/california-probate-shortcuts-31777.html you would use this form http://www.courts.ca.gov/documents/de221.pdf
In a case like this the child of the decedent would just be entitled to a portion of his separate property. See §6401(c)(2)(A) here http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/cgi-bin/displaycode?section=prob&group=06001-07000&file=6400-6414
Again, I would argue that the mobile home became community property once it’s upkeep and/or payments were commingled with community assets.
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