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Wills and Decedents' Estates


When people die, their assets including personal belongings, bank accounts, stocks, and real estate need to be safeguarded and managed. Bills need to be paid. Because of the grief process and the effects on families when there is a death, it can be difficult to deal with the business of settling the deceased person's affairs.

The process can be simple or complex depending on such factors as the size and nature of the deceased person's assets, whether assets are hard to locate, and whether the survivors can cooperate with one another.  Decedent's personal property may be collected without probate court administrative proceeding if the value of the estate is under $184,500 (if  decedent died on or after April, 1, 2022) or $166,250 (if decedent died before April 1, 2022). California Probate Code §§  13100-13116.  

Sample Affidavit For Collection of Personal Property Under California Probate Code §§ 13100-13106


The person who died is called the decedent. If the decedent signed a will, the person who is designated in the will to handle the decedent's estate is called an executor. The executor files the will with the Court and files a petition for probate of the will and for appointment as the executor. If the decedent has not made a will, his or her affairs will still be settled through the Probate Court. In those cases, the person who the Court appoints to handle the estate is called an administrator. The term personal representative means either an executor or an administrator. Although the law does not require a person to have a lawyer in the Probate Court, the process is complicated and an experienced probate lawyer is most helpful.

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