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Small Estates: 13100 Declarations

On Behalf of | May 26, 2023 | Firm News

A Probate is the court process used to administer a decedent’s estate when they pass away.  The process transfers a decedent’s assets to the beneficiary or heir of the decedent.  However, in California, a summary estate administration can be used with smaller estates that fall below $184,500 for deaths after April 1, 2022.  The process and supporting law can be found in the California Probate Code section 13000-13211.  These code sections allow for a quick transfer of the decedent’s assets without a formal probate.  Ultimately, expending less time and money.

Typically, the code sections found in the small estate sections are best used when a decedent’s estate is small since it is unlikely there will be an adverse tax consequence,  the number of successors in interest is small, there are no disputes about the property and decedent had little to no debt at their passing.

When you use summary administration procedures the decedent’s debts and obligations are still paid, but the persons collecting the assets are responsible for getting the unsecured debts paid and filing any final tax returns of the decedent.

The decedent’s successors may collect the decedent’s tangible personal property, money, debts owed to the decedent, and other intangible personal property by the affidavit or declaration. Typically, this process is used to collect, bank accounts, life insurance, and retirement plan benefits, that become part of the decedent’s estate on the decedent’s death.  If the decedent left a will the successor in interest would be the named beneficiary or in some cases the Trustee of a Trust.  If the decedent died without a will, known as intestate, then the heirs would be successors in interest.

13100 declaration requirements:

  • The decedent’s name;
  • The date and place of the decedent’s death and at least 40 days have elapsed since the death of the decedent;
  • Attach a certified copy of the death certificate;
  • No administration is now or has been conducted in California or the decedent’s personal representative has consented in writing ;
  • The current gross fair market value of the decedent’s real and personal property in California, does not exceed $184,500 along with a description of the property;
  • The name of the successor of the decedent;
  • The declarant is the successor of the decedent or the declarant is authorized to act on behalf of the successor of the decedent;
  • No other person has a superior right;
  • The declarant requests that the described property be paid, delivered, or transferred to the declarant; and
  • Declarant affirms or declares under penalty of perjury under the laws of the State of California that the foregoing is true and correct.

This procedure makes it easier to transfer small amounts to the successor of the property without the cost time and expense of a formal probate proceeding.  As long as the total value of all assets in the decedent’s name is below the probate amount then a simple 13100 Declaration can be used.  Some banks or financial institutions will provide you with the form for completion and sometimes you will need to provide your own form to claim the asset.

If you are a beneficiary and think that a 13100 declaration may apply, contact Mauriah Conway, Esq. to assist you with your 13100 declaration, Probate, Trust Administration and Estate Planning needs (916) 920-5983.