Yorba Linda, CA asked in Probate for California

Q: Does my moms small estate have to go through probate?

She has a 401k and life insurance with no beneficiaries listed. She does have a will naming myself as executor and her children as equal beneficiaries.

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1 Lawyer Answer
Sheri Lynn Hoffman
Sheri Lynn Hoffman
  • Probate Lawyer
  • Folsom, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: 401k and life insurance are beneficiary controlled - meaning if there is a surviving named beneficiary, then those types of accounts do not have to go through probate. However, if there is no beneficiary named, or the beneficiary named does not survive, then if the total assets are more than $150k then the estate must go through probate. If the total of the assets is under $150k, then you should explore using the Small Estate Affidavit procedure available outside the courts.

Gerald Barry Dorfman and Kenneth V Zichi agree with this answer

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