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  • Writer's picturePaul R Kelly, Esq.

Small Estates Under $184,500.00 by Affidavit

If you have the legal right to inherit personal property (i.e. money in a bank account, retirement accounts, or stocks) and the estate is worth $184,500.00 or less, you may be able to access the money without the need to file a formal probate.  The procedure to obtain an account valued at $184,500.00 or less is called a Small Estate Affidavit.  The legal authority to use a Small Estate Affidavit can be found in California Probate Code Sections 13100-13106.

Once you have drafted and had the document notarized, you may give this Affidavit to the person, company, or financial institution (such as a bank) that has the property so that they can legally transfer it to the appropriate person(s).

There are qualifications and limits to using this Affidavit, including.


(1)  To qualify, the estate must be valued under a set amount. That amount can change from year to year so be sure to review the applicable Probate Code. For example, if the decedent died on April 1, 2022, or later, the estate is small if it is valued at $184,500 or lessIf the decedent died before April 1, 2022, the estate is small if it is valued at $166,250 or less. 

(2)  A Small Estate Affidavit cannot be used to transfer real property.

(3)  A formal probate case cannot be ongoing or opened yet.

(4)  At least 40 days have passed since the person died.


If you are not sure whether the estate qualifies or if this process is best process, talk to a lawyer. The Kelly Law Firm has experience drafting Small Estate Affidavits on behalf of its clients.


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