California Probate Laws, Timelines And Probate Cash Advance Options

Being told that you have to go through probate after you’ve suffered the loss of a loved one can be devastating. Probate laws in California govern how money from a deceased person’s estate is passed to heirs and beneficiaries by the county court in California where the person passed away. 

It’s important to understand the probate laws of California because missing deadlines can cause delays in the probate process or even cost more money in attorneys fees.

The probate process is not required in California if the decedent has set up a trust (or family trust) which in most cases helps their estate to avoid probate. However, if those trusts or plans were not made, the only way estate assets can be distributed in California is through the probate. There are extreme cases where an estate will still need to pass through probate even if the decedent had a trust in place.

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How long does probate take in California?

In non-pandemic times, the probate assets (personal property) within an estate in California  can take anywhere from 9 months to 3 years to be distributed from the decedents estate. There are different variables including the following:

  • Size of the estate which dictates how long an inventory of assets will take
  • The amount of beneficiaries in the estate
  • How fast the executor of the estate can push the process along
  • If the will is contested
  • Probate Court Timelines

Probate court proceedings take a long time. In addition, courts have been forced to go remote as a result of the pandemic, and thus have been slowed down as a result. There have been many articles recently published on the
delay in the court system which has caused a lot of anguish to estate heirs. You cannot distribute any assets to heirs until the estate goes through the legal process of probate. Doing so before the probate is closed can lead to legal issues for the executor and cause headaches for everyone involved. In this article we go over laws specific to California  as well as ways that you can receive your inheritance cash now.

California Probate

What Are The Deadlines and Timelines In California Probate

Below, you will find important deadlines and timelines in the California probate process:
  • Contesting appointment of personal representative (executor): You can contest who has been appointed as the executor of the estate at or before the initial hearing (you contest the appointment by filing a written objection)
  • You can respond to anyone who has contested the will within 30 days after receiving the summons from the court
  • A Petition to Revoke the Probate Process within 120 days after the will is submitted to the probate court
  • The Inventory and Appraisal of the estate’s assets must be concluded within four months of the issuance of letters
  • Creditor Claims have four months to be completed after the issuance of letters or 60 days after notice
  • Small Estate Affidavit – Personal Property: Cannot be filed until at least 40 days have passed following the decedent’s death
  • Petition For Order Determining Succession To Real Property (Small Estates): Cannot be filed until at least 40 days have passed following the decedent’s death
  • Small Estate Affidavit – Real Property: You are required to wait at least six months following death to file
  • Surviving Spouse Right To Dispose Of Community Or Quasi-Community Property: You can file 40 days or later after the death of your spouse

California Probate Laws

  • Intestate succession laws apply to the deceased persons assets owned solely by them where there is a beneficiary on the real property. For instance, estate assets that have been put into trust or retirement accounts with a beneficiary do not have to go through probate.
  • The real property assets will pass to the surviving co-owner or to the beneficiary you named, whether or not you have a will.
  • California does not have an inheritance tax or a gift tax either. However, if you inherit money from a relative who lived in another state, you should check the laws of that state to see if your inheritance will be taxed.
  • The federal gift tax does apply to anyone who is gifted money in California via an estate. In 2020, the federal exemption was $11.58 milion for an individual and $23.16 million per married couple. In 2021, the federal exemption is $11.7 million for an individual and $23.4 million for a married couple.

California does not have an inheritance tax

Some states have an inheritance tax and others also have an estate tax or both. It’s important to understand the laws of your state to know if you have to pay an inheritance tax or an estate tax. California does not have an estate or inheritance tax. 

Federal Estate tax remains the same but different states have different tax laws and ways they deal with community property, surviving spouse and the deceased persons owned assets as well as tenants by the entirety. If the deceased person’s assets are not set up with an estate plan for intestate succession the estate will have to go through probate and you will have to pay taxes. The following states have different tax laws:


States with an estate tax:

  • Connecticut
  • Illinois
  • Maine
  • Massachusetts
  • Minnesota
  • New York
  • Oregon
  • Rhode Island
  • Vermont
  • Washington (state)

States with an inheritance tax:

  • Iowa
  • Kentucky
  • Nebraska
  • New Jersey
  • Pennsylvania

Estate and Inheritance Tax

  • Maryland

How to avoid probate in California

  • Hire a good estate planning attorney
  • Open bank accounts and designate heirs as beneficiaries of the accounts
  • Add a ‘transfer on death’ deed to any real estate you own
  • Create a revocable living trust
  • Make sure any real property is owned with tenants by entirety or has a beneficiary.

Immediate Options to receive Money If you can’t wait for California Probate

If you are stuck in the process of probate in California you might have thought about borrowing against your estate or getting a mortgage on a property in probate. You can get a loan on your inheritance or a probate advance. Many California residents opt to receive a probate advance which is an early cash advance on the inheritance that they will receive in the future. These funds can be used to pay for anything. There are no restrictions on the money and the process is fast and easy. Inheritance advances or probate advances are easier to obtain than a probate loan and do not require a credit check. An inheritance loan means that you will have to make monthly payments which is different from a probate advance because with an advance you are selling your inheritance which will be paid back at the time of final probate distribution. 

Don't Wait for Probate

Probate Loan Vs Probate Advance In California

If you are stuck in the process of probate in California you might have thought about borrowing against your estate or getting a mortgage on a property in probate. This is commonly referred to as an estate loan, traditional bank loan or probate loan. It’s important to understand the difference between probate loans in California and an advance on your inheritance money. Inheritance advances are a much simpler process when compared to a probate loan because you don’t have the traditional requirements of a bank loan with credit checks and repayment terms on assets.

When you apply for a probate loan, you need to go through the traditional loan application process. It can be time consuming and difficult because of credit requirements and a lengthy application to be completed either online or with a representative at the bank. Thus, like probate, there can be no end in sight for many heirs.

Why Californians Consider Probate Loans?

During the probate process, the heirs may need a probate advance to obtain funds to take care of numerous financial obligations related to the estate such as paying for funeral costs, legal expenses, making mortgage payments, paying property taxes, settling debts or claims on the estate, making repairs to properties or buying out or paying off other heirs. An estate loan allows the heir to quickly borrow against real estate within the estate and receive funds to satisfy various immediate obligations of the estate. Loans against probate real estate assets can provide heirs and beneficiaries with some much needed breathing room during a difficult time.

An estate loan to buy out siblings or other beneficiaries is the fastest and easiest way to divide interest in an estate that contains real estate and other assets. The beneficiary who wants to maintain ownership of the real estate can take out an estate loan with the loan proceeds going towards buying out the other beneficiaries. If you opt for an estate loan colateralized by real estate, then all siblings and beneficiaries of the estate must approve of the loan being placed against the real estate. They must also come to an agreement on the value of the real estate. This is commonly accomplished by obtaining an appraisal. This is also the reason why it’s much easier to just get an inheritance advance because it does not affect other heirs and makes the process much easier than obtaining a loan. 

California’s Proposition 58 allows for an exclusion of property tax reassessments on transfers of real estate from parent to child. The Prop 58 form must be filed with the county where the real estate is located. Probate lending allows a beneficiary to take out a loan against the estate’s real estate. The loan proceeds go directly to the estate and then are used to buy out the other beneficiaries who wish to sell their interest in the real estate. This 3rd-party loan and process allows for a direct parent to child transfer and avoids a sibling to sibling transfer. Consult an attorney when considering this type of transaction.

California Probate Questions

Here are some helpful resources to utilize when you enter into the probate estate process in California due to a loved one’s death and it can help you answer more questions about probate: 

Most estates in California must pass through the probate process, there are a few exceptions. For those who meet certain criteria, simplified proceedings known as small estate proceedings may be available.

No, all estates do not have to go through probate in California. Joint tenancy often works well when couples (married or not) acquire real estate, vehicles, bank accounts or other valuable property together in California each co-owner must own an equal share. If joint tenancy of assets are in place, then they do not have to pass through the probate process in California

The largest cost in probate is always the Attorneys’ fees. In Do all estates have to go through probate in California, like most states, Attorney’s fees are based on the number of hours billed and the lawyer’s hourly rate. The cost for simple estates can range from $2,000 to $5,000 while more complicated cases may reach up to ten times that amount.

You can avoid probate in California by taking some of the following precautions to protect your assets:
  1. Revocable living trusts.
  2. Make sure any real property is owned with tenants by entirety or has a beneficiary. This is referred to as joint tenancy ownership, otherwise known as “tenants by entirety”
  3. “Payable on death” designations.
  4. Life insurance.
  5. Retirement accounts that have a designated beneficiary.
  6. Having an estate of less than an amount which is designated by the state to be considered a “small estate.”
  7. Create a revocable living trust

Probate Code And California Law Resources:

You can find the government probate resources here: Do You Regularly Help California Residents? Yes, we’ve helped people from the following counties in California with Inheritance Advanced. Los Angeles County San Diego County Orange County Riverside County San Bernardino County Santa Clara County Alameda County San Francisco

Contact Inheritance Advanced to Receive Your Inheritance Money In California Now

If you are entering into the probate process in California and you need cash immediately, inheritance advanced is here for you. Inheritance Advanced has worked with more than 1,700 satisfied clients across the country, including [state]. We have helped them obtain money to pay for the funeral, burial, medical bills, credit card debt, and everyday expenses instead of waiting for the probate process to complete. 

Our experienced team is compassionate, caring, and understanding. We know how difficult it is to wait for probate, that is why we give you your funds now and wait for probate ourselves, so you don’t have to.