Q: My late husband had a parcel of land in El Dorado County that we never bothered to put my name on. Must I probate it?
A: Most likely yes, but you can probably avoid a full probate. There are other options to a full probate that a spouse can file or other heirs depending on the value of the property.
To expand a bit on Ms. Dunn's comments.
If the real property is worth less than $50,000, there is a affidavit procedure to transfer it to the appropriate heirs. This is the gross (before any liens or mortgages) value, and includes all his real property subject to probate. (We don't count property held in a Trust, or that transfers by operation of law, that is joint tenancy, community property with right of survivor ship, property subject to a transfer on death deed. )
If his real property exceeds that limit, you may be able to use a Spousal Property Petition, which is a lot quicker and cheaper than probate.
Or, if your husband (or you and our husband) had a Trust, you may be able to include the property in with the Trust property using a Probate Code Section 850 petition.
Even if probate is required, an attorney may agree to discount their fee or work on a limited scope basis, depending on how complicated the work required is.
I suggest you discuss this in more detail with an experienced probate attorney. If you do not know where to find one, you can try your local bar association. Most county bar associations provide an attorney referral service which, for a small or no charge, matches you with an attorney for consultation. In my home county of Contra Costa it is $35.00 for a 30 minute consultation.
A: As others have stated depends on value as determined by the California probate referee most likely. The other option that might work is a spousal property petition in which case value plays no part. In all cases probate court is required. We do a lot of work in el do and all of California. Give me a call to discuss the options.
A: The answer depends upon how the title is currently held, if the property was owned by a trust or was his separate property, if he had a will, and various other factors. The short answer is likely yes, but there may be a way to handle it less expensively and quicker that does not require a full probate. You should consult with an attorney to discuss the specifics of your case.
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