Bakersfield, CA asked in Real Estate Law and Probate for California

Q: Is there a form to waive probate for property of little value

One half owned by husband and me, one half by parents. They are all deceased. Property was inadvertently not listed in the trust of which I am executor. I need to clear the title

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1 Lawyer Answer
James Edward Berge
James Edward Berge
  • Estate Planning Lawyer
  • San Jose, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: If you and your parents are all joint owners of the property, you should be able to claim your ownership of their half of the property by a simple affidavit of death of joint owner without the need for probate. If you and your parents are all tenants in common (they own an undivided one-half and you own an undivided one-half of the property but there's no right of survivorship, you will need a court order establishing that you now own their one-half of the property. If it can be established that the fair market value of their one-half of the property is under $185K, there is a simplified probate procedure that can be completed within 60 days at a substantial cost savings to a full probate. If it can be established that the property is (or was intended to be) trust-owned property, there's another probate procedure that you can use to establish the existence of the trust, the name of the trustee, and the properly belonging to the trust (referred to as a Heggstad petition), which can also be completed within 60 days at a substantial cost savings to a full probate. If none of the above are available, you may have no other choice but to file a petition for probate of the estate. If you need the help of an attorney to explore your options, feel free to give us a call. We have over 30 years' experience in this field.

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