If your spouse or domestic partner passed away, use this trick to reduce the cost of probate or avoid probate altogether. Use a Spousal Property Petition to reduce probate costs.
The Spousal Property Petition
The State of California allows spouses to transfer some property outside of probate. (Prob. Code, § 13500.) The rule applies to that portion of their spouse’s estate, which would transfer to them by Will, Trust, or intestate law. (Prob. Code, § 13500.)
The spouse or a personal representative may file the “spousal property petition” to inform the Court that the spouse’s inheritance should not include property in the estate. (Prob. Code, § 13650.)
The effect of the Spousal Property Petition
The personal representative must pay fees to the attorney and the personal representative from the estate’s assets.(Prob. Code, §§ 10800 & 10810.) The amount of the fee depends upon the “value of the estate.”(Prob. Code, §§ 10800 & 10810.) If the property passes outside of probate, then it is not part of the “value of the estate,” which means that the cost of probate is reduced, and sometimes the reduction is significant!
By filing the Spousal Property Petition, that portion of the property that passes to the spouse passes outside the estate! The estate does not pay the representative or the attorney based on the spouse’s inheritance. “No administration is necessary.” (Prob. Code, § 13500.)
Need help filing a Spousal Property Petition
If you need help filing a Spousal Property Petition, hire a Kern County Probate Attorney. Contact Coleman & Horowitt, LLP. Coleman & Horowitt has offices in Bakersfield, Fresno, Visalia, and Los Angeles. See all locations on the company website.