What is the Best Way to Settle Your Estate?

California has several options to settle an Estate

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Assets in Joint Tenancy

An owner of property co-owned in Joint Tenancy can quickly remove a deceased co-owner from title through a non-court affidavit process. In the case of real property, an affidavit is recorded which verifies the death of the joint tenant/co-owner. A court proceeding is not required to transfer assets to the surviving joint tenant.

Assets in Living Trust

An estate fully funded through a Revocable Living Trust does not require California probate. The Successor Trustee is responsible for notifying and distributing the trust assets to the trust beneficiaries. This trust administration process does not require filing a court proceeding. Assets inadvertently omitted from Trust? You may be able to file a Heggstad Petition. Click here for more info.

Special Spousal Proceedings

A Spousal Property petition is a way to transfer or confirm real and/or personal property to a surviving spouse without having to file a full probate proceeding. A Spousal petition cannot transfer estate assets that may be due to other heirs. A Petition is filed with the court and requires at least one court hearing.

Estates with Land or House

Estates with real property can be settled in several ways, depending on the size of the estate. There are small estate court proceedings: 1) estates under $50,000 and 2) estates over $50,000 but less than $150,000. For estates over $150,000, the estate may require a full probate.

Estates Without Land or House

Estates with personal property valued less than $150,000 can be quickly settled be a non-court probate affidavit. Estates valued over $150,000 may require a full probate proceeding and appointment of a personal representative to represent the estate.

Get Started

Low Flat Fees for All Probate Services

Here is a brief outline of how a probate case is started with our company

1. Sign required Contract for Services and remit payment through our online portal.
2. Complete our interactive online worksheet to provide the necessary information required in your case.
3. Staff will review information and contact you with any questions we may have.
4. We will prepare your probate documents which will be emailed to you with instructions to print and sign.
5. You return signed documents to our office with court filing fee.

5. We file the petition with the court, get case number and set hearing date.
6. We send you a copy of the petition and instructions about the hearing.
7. We arrange for required newspaper publication.
8. We check probate notes for pre-confirmation.
9. We lodge Order and Letters.
10. You appear at the hearing; Letters and Order issued by court.
11. Your probate case has made it through Phase 1 and on its way to a final distribution.

Remember – ProbatebyME is not simply a forms service. Our experienced probate staff will manage your probate case until it is completed!

Does Your Estate Qualify For an Easier Probate Alternative?

Refer to the Flip Charts Below for Detailed Information

A Probate Solution for Every Need!


Assets in Joint Tenancy

Transfer real property to surviving tenant without probate

Assets in Joint Tenancy

• Remove Co-Owner Joint Tenant
• Fast and Easy
• Timetable: 1-10 days
• Does not require Court hearing
• Recording fee required
• No Reassessment


Assets Under $150,000

Transfer personal property assets outside of a court proceeding

Assets Under $150,000

• Personal Property Only
• No Real Property or Land
• Value Under $150,000
• Wait 40 days after death

• Timetable: 1-10 Days
• Non-Court process


Real Property Under $50,000

Transfer low value real and personal property through court process.

Real Property Under $50,000

• Estates with Real Property/Land
• Assets Under $50,000
• 2-3 Month Process
• All Heirs Petition
• Wait 6 months after death
• No other CA proceedings
• No Court Hearing
• Requires Inventory


Real Property Under $150,000

Transfer Real and Personal Property through fast small estate proceeding.

Real Property Less $150,000

• Estates with Real Property
• Value Under $150,000
• All Heirs Petition
• Wait 40 days after death
• Timetable: 2-4 months
• Court Appearance Required
• Inventory and Appraisal Required


Spousal Petition

Transfer community/separate property assets to surviving spouse.

Spousal Petition

• Estates with Real or Personal Property
• Spouse Must Petition
• No Maximum Value
• Timetable: 2-4 months
• No Waiting Period

• Court Appearance Required
• No Inventory and Appraisal Required


Estates Over $150,000

For large estates with real/personal property assets over $150,000.

Estates Over $150,000

• Settles large estates
• Distributes real and personal property
• Timetable: 7-10 months
• Appoints personal representative
• Letters Issued

• Inventory and Appraisal Required

Fees are for document preparation services only and do not include any court filing fees, recording fees or other third-party costs.