How to Use a Small Estate Affidavit to Collect Property in California
In certain circumstances, personal property may be transferred to the decedent's successors without a formal probate. If the decedent's estate qualifies under California Probate Code §§ 13100-13116, the person(s) entitled to the property may present an Affidavit for Collection of Personal Property, also known as a Small Estate Affidavit, to the person or institution having custody of the property, requesting that the property be delivered or transferred to the successor.
Personal property refers anything that isn't real estate. Common types of personal property include furniture, jewelry, and household goods, as well as bank accounts, stocks, and money due to the decedent. The procedures described in this guide apply only to personal property. Real estate with a value under $150,000 may also be transferred without a formal probate, using different forms. Those procedures and forms are described in How to Probate an Estate in California (KFC 205 .N57; Self-Help), put out by Nolo Press, a highly respected publisher of plain English, do-it-yourself books. You may read in How to Probate an Estate in California from any computer with Internet access, at the Law Library or from your home or office, via the Legal Information Reference Center. Instructions are available on our website at www.saclaw.org/pages/nolo-ebooks.aspx.
There is no Judicial Council form for this procedure. A customizable template may be downloaded from this link:
Click here to download this Guide, with step-by-step instructions, including sample forms.
updated 4/13 mpj