Small Estate Affidavit California (CA) Form

A small estate affidavit procedure enables the decedent's successors to inherit property without undergoing formal probate. With the help of this free template, you can easily complete your small estate affidavit form in California. You can also notarize it online and share it with the parties involved. 

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Small Estate Affidavit California (CA) Form

What is Small Estate Affidavit in California?

When an individual passes away, their families need to go through formal probate proceedings in order to transfer the property. The process is supervised by the courts, and it can take substantial time, costs, and effort. This undertaking can be resource-consuming and painful for families that have lost their loved ones. Small estate affidavit California is intended to expedite the property settlement if the assets qualify since it eliminates the need to undergo probate. 

Specifically, CA small estate affidavit fulfills two fundamental things: minimizes expenses and saves time. The California Probate Code 13050 created this procedure to ease the lives of heirs in case a decedent has owned an estate that qualifies as small under the state laws. Preparing a small estate California form with this convenient template is quick and straightforward.

Where to Get a Small Estate Affidavit in California?

To complete the small estate affidavit form California, you should first obtain the form required by the probate court in the county where the decedent had their primary residence. 

The optimal way to get the document is to download it at PandaDocs and fill it out according to our recommendations. You can do this online without spending your time and money.

Another option is to pick up the form in person at the court or download it at the county’s online help center. 

You should closely follow the instructions and include all the required documents.

California Small Estate Affidavit: Instructions 2023

In order to settle a qualifying property, you should file a small estate affidavit California form 13101. This document allows a petitioner to transfer the unclaimed property of a deceased if the petitioner is entitled to the deceased’s assets according to Section 13101 of the California Probate Code.

To submit a California small estate affidavit 2022 or 2023, you should check whether you qualify and then fulfill a set of instructions.

Who qualifies for small estate affidavit California 

You must comply with several conditions to be entitled to use the CA small estate affidavit. 

  • You have a legal right to inherit from the decedent. This means that you should be a beneficiary in the decedent’s will and the guardian or conservator of the estate.
  • If the deceased did not compose a will, then you must have a right to inherit under the state intestacy inheritance law. The persons possessing this right include:
    • A spouse;
    • A child;
    • Other relatives if there is no spouse or child exists.

The property must not be in probate court before you start your procedure. Otherwise, the estate’s personal representative must provide written consent for you to file a small estate affidavit.

The fundamental instructions to follow when filing a small estate affidavit CA  

Once you’ve filled out your free affidavit form template on our website or obtained the form from the other source, you should do the following:

  • Attach the required documents:
    • A certified copy of the death certificate of the deceased.
    • The confirmation that the passed-away person owned the assets you are listing. You can use bank statements, storage receipts, stock certificates, or other proofs for this purpose.
    • The confirmation of your identity. This could be a state ID, driver’s license, or passport.
    • An Inventory and Appraisal (Form DE-160) of all real property owned by the deceased in California. Obtain the signature of your small estate affidavit CA by a probate referee at the court. You would need this form only if there is real property. 
  • Obtain the necessary signatures. If other successors are entitled to inherit the estate, they must sign the affidavit. Their signatures witness their consent for your inheriting the property.
  • Notarize the documents. Although notarization is not required in the state of California, you will need to submit the document to certain financial institutions, and they, in turn, will need it to be notarized.

The California small estate affidavit instructions are relatively simple since the procedure itself is easy and quick to fulfill. The essential thing is to complete the form correctly and obtain all estate planning documents timely. With this free template of the small estate affidavit form California, you will streamline the preparation process.

Small Estate Affidavit California: Requirements

What property can be included in a small estate affidavit CA, and when can you use the form?

The conditions you need to comply with

  • The decedent died before April 1, 2022, and the estate’s total value does not exceed $166,250.
  • The decedent died after April 1, 2022, and the estate’s total value does not exceed $184,500. 
  • You should wait for 40 days after the time of death before initiating this simplified procedure with the court.

The property that qualifies for a small estate affidavit in CA

When calculating the total property value, you should know that not all the decedent’s possessions count towards that total. You can exempt the following assets:

  • Life insurance payouts sent to specific individuals rather than the estate itself;
  • Retirement account payouts;
  • Co-owned bank accounts;
  • A joint property owned with the right of survivorship;
  • A co-owned community property;
  • Assets kept in a living trust;
  • Debts and mortgages;
  • Vehicles, including automobiles, recreational vehicles, mobile homes, and boats;
  • Other restricted assets stated in PROB § 13050.

If you meet the estate and personal qualifications, you can seamlessly proceed with the small estate affidavit process.

Steps for Filing CA Small Estate Affidavit 

Explore this four-step guide for preparing and submitting the small estate affidavit form California.

Step 1: Wait for 40 days

Make sure that 40 days have passed since the decedent’s death before you initiate your affidavit procedure.

Step 2: Prepare your affidavit form

Make sure that the total estate value is $184,500 or lower. In this case, complete one of the following forms:

  • Form DE-221 – if the decedent was your spouse.
  • Form DE-160/GC-040 – if the decedent was not your spouse.

Step 3: Fill out the form and attach the required documents

Use the free small estate affidavit form California on PandaDocs to fill it out quickly and hassle-free. The heirs must sign the document before a notary public.

Do not forget to include the necessary attachments:

  • A certified copy of the Death Certificate;
  • Proof of ownership of the assets stated on the inventory list;
  • Your identification;
  • An Inventory and Appraisal (Form DE-160) of all decedent’s real property in California.

Step 4: Submit the form

File your affidavit with the probate court where the deceased resided. The filing fee in California is $435. The court clerk will provide you with further instructions regarding the process.

As soon as the form is approved, you can use a certified copy of the affidavit to settle the property or collect money owed to the estate.


What is a small estate affidavit in California? 

If your deceased loved one was a resident of California and owned a small estate, you can expedite the property transfer by using a small estate affidavit CA. An affidavit relieves you from the need to undergo costly and time-consuming probate proceedings. If the property qualifies for a small estate affidavit in California, you can transfer the property quickly and efficiently with the help of this document.

When can you use a small estate affidavit in California?

Essentially, you can use a small estate affidavit CA in two cases:

  • An owner has passed away without a will;
  • The value of the property does not surpass $184,500.

In this case, you can transfer the heritage without formal probate.Complete the free template of a small estate affidavit form California at PandaDocs and share it according to your needs.

When do you need a small estate Affidavit California?

You would need this form to transfer property of lower value if the decedent didn’t leave a will. Those who qualify can file a small estate affidavit CA to the court, thereby omitting expensive and painstaking probate. The affidavit process for qualifying estates is covered under California Probate Code §13100.

Does Small Estate Affidavit need to be notarized in California?

The state of California does not require you to notarize the form. However, the other financial institutions involved in the process do. Therefore, you should better notarize your affidavit to have your property seamlessly settled.

Complete the free form online at PandaDocs to save time and resources.

How do I notarize a Small Estate Affidavit (CA)?

Although you are not legally required to notarize your affidavit, you should keep in mind that some institutions will ask you to do this. Moreover, if there are other heirs to the property, you’ll need them to sign the affidavit before the notary as well.

To expedite the process, PandaDocs offers the services of an on-demand online notary. The online notarization will take only several minutes and is absolutely safe and reliable since our notary is state approved for remote online notarization.

How much does a small estate affidavit cost in California?

The filing fee may vary in different counties. To save costs, you can use our free template and fill out the free form on your own. Using the Court Locator, you should find the probate court where the decedent resided. The filing fee in California is $435.

How to file a small estate affidavit in California?

Here are the key steps:

  1. Obtain and fill out the CA small estate affidavit. You can utilize the small estate affidavit California form 13101 to collect the unclaimed assets of the deceased if you are entitled to inherit property under Section 13101 of the California Probate Code. Make sure the form is used by the probate court in the county where the deceased resided.
  2. Include all the required attachments.
  3. Obtain signatures of the other persons entitled to inherit the property.
  4. The optimal choice would be to notarize the document.
  5. Submit your affidavit to the court in your county.
  6. Once the small estate affidavit California is approved, you can transfer the property.