The small estate affidavit is a non-court process that allows the transfer of personal property under $166,250 to beneficiaries without filing a court proceeding. If the estate has real property, you cannot use this process.

To use a Small Estate Affidavit, at least 40 days must have elapsed since the death of the decedent. The recipients entitled to the property can sign an affidavit and present it to the bank or other institution having custody or control of the property, and request the ownership be transferred to them. Several assets may be included in one affidavit, or a separate affidavit may be used for each. When using this affidavit procedure to collect or transfer personal property, no administration proceedings may be pending or conducted for the decedent’s estate in California.