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my name is XXXXX XXXXX grandmother past away about a year

ago.she didnt have a will...
my name is XXXXX XXXXX grandmother past away about a year ago.she didnt have a will for her estate.at the time of her death,i wasnt around ,so i didnt know she died.the deputy administrator for san diego had got a hold of me and let me know she took care of everything.they gave me a check for my grand mothers estate.then i got a letter in the mail from prudential life insurance about a policy that she had.i sent them all the paper work they asked for .then they told me that they couldnt give me anything until i got a affidavit from the judge stating that i was the next closet heirer,to recieve the policy.i just dont know how to see a judge to have him do that and i dont know what papers i need to have to give to him .please help me?
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Answered in 21 minutes by:
7/26/2013
Amber E.
Amber E., Attorney
Category: Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 1,488
Experience: Experienced practitioner in probate and succession law.
Verified
It is interesting that they would say they need an affidavit from a judge. Ordinarily, if an estate is worth $150,000 or less, life insurance, retirement benefits, and the like can be transferred by affidavit signed by a notary. The court's self help center may have a guide or form for you for this, but if not the California self help site does as well, and I have provided the web address below. It is a great place to begin, especially if you are not familiar with how the estate transfer process works in California.

http://www.courts.ca.gov/10440.htm

Now, if the amount is in excess of $150,000, then a Petition for Probate - or, more specifically, a Petition for Letters of Administration, as there is no will, may have to be filed. This is also discussed in detail on the above site and forms can be found there. The administrator, appointed by the court, acts as a sort of personal representative of the estate to collect the deceased person's assets, which would include benefits such as those you describe, and distributes them to the heirs.

The probate process is quite complicated and more costly compared to the affidavit process, and what the insurance company told you doesn't really make sense in the context of California law. With that being the case, it might be a good idea to contact the insurer to get something in writing that explains what they are asking for and then take it to a local wills and estate attorney who can review the paperwork and help you decide which process will be required. You would also be better able to determine whether you would prefer to handle it all on your own or retain the attorney for full representation. Though the site above provides detailed instructions a to how to proceed, it can still be a complicated process when substantial amounts of money are at issue, and so it is generally recommended that an attorney be retained to assist when probate is required.
Amber E.
Amber E., Attorney
Category: Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 1,488
Experience: Experienced practitioner in probate and succession law.
Verified
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Customer reply replied 4 years ago

They are now saying he has to be add to a well but do not know how we go about this???

Could you explain a little more - who is saying he has to be added, who is the "he" they are saying has to be added, and what is it they want him to be added to? Thank you.
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Amber E.
Amber E.
Amber E., Attorney
Category: Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 1,488
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Experience: Experienced practitioner in probate and succession law.

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