Tip Sheet on How to Collect Personal Property of California Decedents by Affidavit and Avoid Probate

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Financial institutions will transfer personal property to the estate of a decedent. But this does not avoid probate. Mark W. Bidwell, at http://www.BidwellLaw.com, provides this tip sheet on how to collect personal property without any legal action for estates less than $150,000.

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A powerful tool to collect bank and brokerage accounts of a relative who has died is California Probate Code §13100. This law provides for the collection and transfer of personal property of a decedent by affidavit or declaration without probate court or any other legal action.

The affidavit/declaration is made by the decedent's successors, those persons succeeding to the property by will or intestacy. For more information call the law firm of Mark W. Bidwell at 949-474-0961 or http://www.BidwellLaw.com.

1. This procedure is for personal property only, not real property. Bank and brokerage accounts are personal property.

2. Personal property and real property owned by decedent cannot exceed $150,000. Property held in joint tenancy and trust are excluded from the total. Automobiles, boats and mobile homes are also excluded from the total.

3. If the estate of the decedent includes any real property in California, the affidavit is accompanied by an inventory and appraisal of the real property. (For more information on real property http://www.CaliforniaSmallEstate.com).

4. Original death certificate.

5. 40 days have passed since death.

6. No probate petition has been filed in probate court for decedent’s estate.

Why this is so powerful of a tool

1. The affidavit is a document. It is not filed with the court, just submitted to the financial institution.

2. A notary public's certificate of acknowledgment identifying the person executing the document is reasonable proof of identity of the person executing the affidavit. Personal appearance by the successor is not needed.

3. If the financial institution holding the decedent's property refuses to pay, deliver, or transfer any personal property within a reasonable time, the successor may compel compliance by filing a complaint in Superior Court. The Successor is allowed to recover reasonable attorney fees.

Service is for all of California

Total cost is $240 for one financial institution. Total cost is $360 for two financial institutions and $80 for each additional financial institution. To begin and for more information call 949-474-0961 or email attorney(at)Bidwelllaw(dot)com.

Mark W. Bidwel is an attorney licensed to practice in California. Office is located at 18831 Von Karman Avenue, Suite 270, Irvine, California 92612. Legal services provided are in probate, estate planning, trusts and asset protection.

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Mark W. Bidwell

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