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Estates, Trust, & Wills
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Wills, Estates, & Trusts

1. What is probate?

2. Does every estate have to go through Probate?

3. Forms for filing in a summary proceeding

4. Forms for filing for the probate of an estate

5. Depositing an Original Will

What is probate?

Probate is the court-supervised process for identifying and gathering the decedent's assets; paying taxes, debts, and expenses; and distributing the balance to beneficiaries. Probate deals with transferring the property of someone who has died (decedent) to the heirs or beneficiaries, deciding if a Will/Codicil is valid, and taking care of the financial responsibilities of the person who has died. A person dies either “testate”, meaning decedent left a Will/Codicil or “intestate”, meaning the decedent left no Will/Codicil.

Prob. Code § 8200 requires that when a person dies, the person in possession of the Will, must deliver (aka deposit) the Will to the Court within 30 days. For more information on depositing an original Will, see "Depositing and Original Will" below.

Frequently Asked Questions about Wills & Estates

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Does every estate have to go though Probate?

In estates where the total value of the assets is less than $166,250, certain affidavits or summary proceedings may allow for the transfer of property. The size of the estate, the relationship of the decedent to the beneficiary, and the character and/or title of the property generally determine the procedure applied to any given situation. The Department of Motor Vehicles has information regarding transferring a vehicle without Probate.

Forms for filing in a summary proceeding:

Forms for filing for the probate of an estate:

Depositing and Original Will (and testament)?

What is a trust?