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RobertJDFL, Attorney
Category: Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 13748
Experience:  Experienced in multiple areas of the law.
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Questions about California probate

Customer Question

Questions about California probate
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Estate Law
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Can we avoid court with a surviving spouse? Very small estate. Largest "property" is a mobile home.
Expert:  RobertJDFL replied 1 year ago.

Thank you for using Just Answer.

So I can better assist you, I do need some more information first, please. Was the home jointly titled between the spouses? Are there other assets not titled jointly or that did not have pay on death clauses (like life insurance)? If so, what do you roughly estimate the amount of those assets to be?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
The home is not jointly titled. It was under my step mother's name. My father is the widower. Comparable homes, in same park listing at an average of 85k. No other titled assets. Thanks.
Expert:  RobertJDFL replied 1 year ago.

Thank you for your reply. Unfortunately, due to the estimated value of the real property, you would not be able to use any type of small estate transfer to avoid probate and would have to open an estate in this situation. California does have a simplified procedure for the transfer of real property of a decedent, regrettably, it's only for properties whose gross value is $50,000 or less.

Thus, an estate would have to be opened and an executor appointed so that transfer of the property could occur. I'm sorry I cannot tell you otherwise.

If you need more information or clarification, please REPLY and I'll be happy to assist you further. Thank you.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I very much appreciate this info. -So would it make any difference if the the mobile home was purchased while they were living together (common law?), prior to marrying?
Expert:  RobertJDFL replied 1 year ago.

Thank you for your reply. I'm sorry for responding late, but I was not home all evening. The only difference would be that because the property was non-marital (California does not recognize a common law marriage, unless they were previously in a common law marriage in another state that DID recognize it) would be entitled to a smaller share of the property. The small estate distribution would still not be an option, however, because the value of the estate assets remain the same - in this case, the home is still worth over $50,000, regardless of how it is distributed.

Expert:  RobertJDFL replied 1 year ago.

Did you have any further questions regarding this matter I could answer? If so, please REPLY and let me know. Otherwise, please remember to leave me a positive rating (3-5 stars or an ok/good/excellent) as that is the only way experts on this site are compensated for their time, even if you have left a deposit. Thank you.