How to Probate an Estate in California (Law for All Series)


If you need to wrap up the affairs of a deceased family member or friend in California, you can save attorney fees by handling the probate process yourself. How to Probate an Estate in California supplies all the instructions, explanations and support you need. You may even be able to handle the whole process by mail, without setting foot in...
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If you need to wrap up the affairs of a deceased family member or friend in California, you can save attorney fees by handling the probate process yourself. How to Probate an Estate in California supplies all the instructions, explanations and support you need. You may even be able to handle the whole process by mail, without setting foot in the courthouse. Learn how to:
*read a will
*determine who inherits property if there is no will
*handle probate paperwork
*collect life insurance and other benefits
*transfer community property to a surviving spouse or domestic partner
*pay bills and taxes
*distribute property left through trusts The completely updated 17th edition explains the latest laws, estate taxes and forms for the current year.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781413304473
  • Publisher: NOLO
  • Publication date: 3/1/2006
  • Series: Law for All Series
  • Edition number: 17
  • Pages: 448
  • Product dimensions: 8.50 (w) x 11.00 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Table of Contents

I. Introduction

1. An Overview

A. What Is Probate?
B. What Is Involved in Settling an Estate?
C. How Long Does It Take to Settle an Estate?
D. What This Book Covers
E. Simple Estate Checklist
F. Important Terms Defined
G. Insolvent Estates
H. Estate Taxes
I. Do You Need an Attorney?

2. First Steps in Settling an Estate

A. Who Should Act as the Estate Representative?
B. Responsibilities of the Estate Representative
C. Specific Duties of the Estate Representative

3. Who Are the Heirs and Beneficiaries?

A. Where to Start
B. How to Read a Will
C. Compare Schedule of Assets With Property Left in Will
D. Who Inherits When the Will Is Ineffective?
E. If There Is No Will
F. The Concept of Right of Representation

4. What Is the Decedent's Estate?

A. Real Property
B. Personal Property
C. What Establishes Ownership of Property?
D. How Was the Decedent's Property Owned?
E. How to Determine Whether Property Is Community or Separate
F. Actions That Change the Character of Property
G. Property That Is a Mixture of Community and Separate Property
H. Examples of Property Ownership
I. Property Acquired by Couples Before They Moved to California

5. Preparing a Schedule of the Assets and Debts

A. Describe Each Asset
B. Value Each Asset (Column A)
C. How to Determine Ownership of Property
D. List the Value of the Decedent's Interest (Column D)
E. Determine Whether Property Is Probate or Non-Probate Asset (Column E)
F. List All Debts
G. Checklist of Property to List on Schedule of As-sets
H. Schedule of Assets for a Sample Estate

6. How to Identify the Best Transfer Procedure

A. Non-Probate Assets
B. Assets That May Be Subject to Formal Pro-bate
C. Examples of How Assets Are Transferred in Typical Estates
D. Sample Estates

7. What About Taxes?

A. Decedent's Final Income Tax Return
B. Fiduciary Income Tax Returns
C. Other Income Tax Returns
D. Stepped-Up Tax Basis Rules for Inherited Property
E. Federal Estate Tax Return
F. California Estate Tax Return
G. California Inheritance Tax
H. Tax Issues for Some Typical Estates

8. Transferring Title to Real Property

A. Ways to Transfer Real Estate After Death
B. Basic Information on Recording Documents
C. Change in Ownership Statements
D. How to Record Your Document Transferring Title
E. Mortgages

9. How to Transfer Securities

A. Documents Required to Transfer Securities
B. The Stock or Bond Power
C. The Affidavit of Domicile
D. The Transmittal Letter
E. How to Sell Securities
F. The Stock Transfer Tax

10. Joint Tenancy Property

A. Where to Start
B. How to Clear Title to Real Property in Joint Tenancy
C. How to Clear Title to Securities Held in Joint Tenancy
D. How to Clear Title to Motor Vehicles and Small Boats Held in Joint
E. How to Clear Title to Joint Tenancy Bank Ac-counts (and Totten Trust
F. How to Clear Title to Money Market Funds and Mutual Funds
G. How to Clear Title to U.S. Savings Bonds in Co-Ownership

11. Transferring Small Estates Under $100,000

A. Overview of the Simplified Transfer Procedure for Small Estates
B. How to Determine Whether You Can Use Summary Procedures
C. How to Transfer the Property

12. How to Transfer Trust Property and Property Subject to Life Estates

A. Notifying Heirs and Beneficiaries
B. Trust Property
C. Handling Debts and Expenses
D. How to Transfer Property Held in Living Trusts
E. Life Tenancy (Life Estate)

13. An Overview of the Probate Court Process

A. Do You Really Need a Probate Court Proceeding?
B. Probate Checklist
C. Dealing With the Probate Court
D. Beginning the Probate Process
E. Taking Care of the Estate During Probate
F. Closing the Estate

14. Conducting a Simple Probate Court Proceeding

Step 1: Prepare the Petition for Probate
Step 2: Prepare the Certificate of Assignment
Step 3: Prepare the Notice of Petition to Administer Estate
Step 4: File Your Petition for Probate
Step 5: Complete the Proof of Subscribing Witness Form
Step 6: Complete a Proof of Holographic Instrument
Step 7: Notify the Director of Health Services
Step 8: Prepare Your Order for Probate
Step 9: Study and Respond to the Calendar Notes
Step 10: Prepare the Letters
Step 11: Prepare the Duties and Liabilities of Personal Representative Form
Step 12: Prepare the Application for Appointment of Probate Referee
Step 13: Prepare Notice of Proposed Action, If Necessary
Step 14: Prepare the Inventory and Appraisal Form
Step 15: Notify Creditors and Deal With Creditor's Claims and Other Debts
Step 16: Prepare the Petition for Final Distribution
Step 17: Prepare Notice of Hearing (Pro-bate)
Step 18: Prepare Order of Final Distribution
Step 19: Transfer the Assets and Obtain Court Receipts
Step 20: Request Discharge From Your Duties

15. Handling Property That Passes Outright to the Surviving Spouse or
Domestic Partner
A. An Overview of These Simplified Procedures
B. Collecting Compensation Owed the Decedent
C. Affidavit for Transferring Community Real Property
D. Survivorship Community Property
E. The Spousal or Domestic Partner Property Petition
F. How to Transfer the Assets to the Surviving Spouse or Partner

16. If You Need Expert Help

A. What Kind of Expert Do You Need?
B. Using a Legal Document Assistant
C. Using a Lawyer

Appendix A: California Probate Code §§ 13100-13106
Appendix B: Judicial Council Forms
DE-111 Petition for Probate
DE-120 Notice of Hearing
DE-121 Notice of Petition to Administer Estate
DE-131 Proof of Subscribing Witness
DE-135 Proof of Holographic Instrument
DE-140 Order for Probate
DE-147 Duties and Liabilities of Personal Representative
DE-147S Confidential Supplement to Duties and Liabilities of Personal
DE-150 Letters
DE-157 Notice of Administration to Creditors
DE-160 Inventory and Appraisal
DE-161 Inventory and Appraisal Attachment
DE-165 Notice of Proposed Action
DE-174 Allowance or Rejection of Creditor's Claim
DE-221 Spousal or Domestic Partner Property Petition
DE-226 Spousal or Domestic Partner Property Order
DE-270 Ex Parte Petition for Authority to Sell Securities and Order
DE-305 Affidavit re Real Property of Small Value ($20,000 or Less)
DE-310 Petition to Determine Succession to Real Property (Estates of $100,000 or Less)
DE-315 Order Determining Succession to Real Property

Appendix C: Non-Judicial Council Forms
Declaration Regarding Property Passing to Decedent's Surviving Spouse or
Registered Domestic Partner Under Probate Code § 13500
Who Inherits Under the Will?
Schedule of Assets
Notification by Trustee
Affidavit-Death of Joint Tenant
Affidavit-Death of Trustee
Affidavit-Death of Spouse
Affidavit-Death of Domestic Partner
Affidavit-Death of Spouse or Domestic Partner-Survivorship Community
Affidavit for Collection of Personal Property Under California Probate
Code §§ 13100-13106
Deed to Real Property
Probate Case Cover Sheet-Certificate of Grounds for Assignment to District (L.A. County)
Application and Order Appointing Probate Referee (L.A. County)
Change in Ownership Statement (Death of Real Property Owner) (L.A. County)
Affidavit or Declaration for Final Discharge and Order (L.A. County)
Preliminary Change of Ownership Report
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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 13, 2006

    Extremely helpful

    If you're dealing with a small estate, this is the answer that will save you $thousands. If not, this will help you keep those attorneys from overcharging you and family members from being confused.

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