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What Is a Small Estate? Definition, Uses and Importance.

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A decedent’s estate may avoid a formal probate administration and have property transferred directly to an heir if the decedent’s estate meets the requirements of California Probate Code §13100 et. seq. (e.g. estates less than $100,000).

Small estate administration is an alternative to the lengthy probate process. It is available if the deceased person did not have a substantial amount of wealth. The property’s worth is usually restricted to a certain amount, such $25,000 or $100,000. If the person who died had real property, this method may not be possible, or it may only apply to personal property and not real property. By using this procedure, you can seek the court to allow you to divide and distribute the testator’s property among those who are either legally entitled to inherit or who are named in the testator’s will.

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