California Probate: Bypassing the California Probate Process
Estates worth $100,000 or less can also be distributed independently of the California probate system; personal property from such estates can be distributed by filing a declaration in a Section 13100 procedure. Check with your local Superior Court for the proper form. As an example, the San Diego forms are available here. After waiting 40 days, heirs can collect personal items such as clothing, cars, and furniture. However, buildings and land (real property) in estates that exceed $100,000 in value cannot bypass the probate system by declaration; they require more complex filings that may necessitate hiring a California probate lawyer. For more information, check out our article on the Basics of California Probate.