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Avoiding Probate with a Small Estate Affidavit

Posted by Thompson Von Tungeln | Dec 13, 2017 | 0 Comments

Legal planning and estate strategies seem a smart move for those with large estates that take much planning, but what about the family who doesn't have much of an estate to transfer? What about those with minimal estates? How can they avoid probate?

Thankfully, probate can be avoided no matter the size of an estate through some simple steps that you and your family attorney can take. For most families, a trust is the vehicle to avoid probate. For small estates, there's a simple shortcut to take to avoid probate using the preparation of a simple document.

Claiming Property with Affidavits

If the total value of the assets you leave behind (excluding real property) is less than $100,000 in California, your family members may be able to skip probate entirely. If the estate qualifies, the inheritor can prepare a document that states he/she claims a certain piece of the estate (such as a bank account, retirement fund, etc.). We will cover the rules for small estates holding real estate in another article.

The document, called an affidavit, is then presented to the entity holding the asset and signed under oath. The inheritor then must present the affidavit to the bank or business from which they are claiming the property who will then release the property.

Again, the procedure will avoid the probate court and the costly process of enduring probate, but be sure you follow the proper steps in preparing and presenting the affidavit.

If you would like more information concerning estate planning, contact Antelope Valley estate planning law firm Thompson | Von Tungeln (TVT) at (661) 426-2499 or visit their websites at and is a comprehensive online resource for personal wealth management solutions through wills and revocable trusts. is a comprehensive online resource for long term nursing home care for the middle class. As Board Certified Specialists in Estate Planning, Trusts and Probate as certified by the State Bar of California Board of Legal Specialization, partners Mark E. Thompson and Kevin L. Von Tungeln are expertly equipped to serve clients with the creative, effective and custom solutions they demand.

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