Q: Do I need a probation ?
My husband just passed away. Our house is held as community property with right of survivorship. I am the sole beneficiary of his retirement accounts and bank accounts. His will left 10% to my daughter. Do I need a probate ? Can I settle the 10% of the estate to my daughter without the probation? We live in California and would like to avoid probation if it is possible. Thank you.
A: I'm very sorry to hear about your husband's passing. Yes, you should be able to avoid probate. The key here is that you have access to all accounts. You can transfer your daughter's inheritance to her, or set up a trust for her if her funds need management due to her age or other factors.
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A: Community property with right of survivorship passes automatically to the surviving spouse without probate but you’ll need to record an affidavit of death with the county recorder’s office to perfect your sole ownership of the property. Any joint ownership of bank accounts held with your husband also pass automatically to you as well but in that case no notice to the bank is necessary unless you want to close the account or add a new account owner, such as an adult child. Beneficiary designation assets also pass without the need for probate as long as you’re the named beneficiary. Simply submit your claim and collect your money. If your husband left any other assets, held individually, then those assets might need to go through a probate to establish the rightful ownership of that property. If the sum total of those individual assets is under $166,250, no probate is required. You and your daughter can simply claim them by a small estate affidavit. If the total exceeds that amount, a probate or simplified probate may be needed. If in doubt, consult with a probate attorney.
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