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California Small Estate Affidavit (Affidavit for Collection of Personal Property)

A California small estate affidavit is used by the rightful heirs to an estate to bypass probate and collect property. The total net value of the estate cannot be more than $184,500 to qualify as a small estate and thus bypass probate.
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How to File (4 steps)

1. Wait 40 Days

The affiant must wait at least 40 days after the death of the decedent.

2. Make an Inventory

The total net amount of the estate must be less than $184,500. If less, then complete one of the following:

The inventory list cannot include:

  • Any mortgage owed, property
  • Vehicles, motorcycles, and motor homes;
  • Boats and any other type of vessel; and
  • Any other restricted items listed in PROB § 13050.

3. Gather Documents

  • Small Estate Affidavit – All heirs must sign before a notary public.
  • Death Certificate
  • Proof of Ownership (of the items on the inventory list)
  • Identification (of the person filing the affidavit)

4. File at the Probate Court

Use the Court Locator and find the probate court where the decedent was a resident. The state filing fee is $435. Request further instructions from the court clerk on the process in the county.