Affidavit real property of small value less than $50,000
California law has a shortcut, or expedited probate procedure for real property less than $50,000 in value known as “Affidavit Real Property of Small Value.”
This procedure is primarily available for timeshare estates and land away from the coast. The $50,000 exemption can be used even if the decedent owned other real property, provided the other real property did not go through probate.
The Affidavit is simple compared to formal probate. But there is paperwork that must be submitted to the probate court.
These are the documents needed:
Additional requirements are:
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Oil and Gas Leases
Executors of Wills, successor trustees and heirs can use the “Affidavit Real Property of Small Value” (the “Affidavit”) to change the payee of oil and gas leases. The Affidavit is a powerful and inexpensive tool to avoid probate and save time for oil and gas leases valued at less than $50,000.
Many Californians own an interest in an oil and gas lease. The lease is a separate and distinct ownership interest in oil and natural gas found below the surface of real property owned by someone else. The lease provides a revenue stream to the owner.
After the owner has died the leasing company continues to make checks payable to the decedent. These checks cannot be deposited or cashed into a bank account. Most often the revenue stream is a few hundred dollars a month.
Many heirs are tempted to walk away from these payments because of the complexity of changing ownership. But the small revenue stream is an opportunity. Most often the appraised value of this small revenue stream is less than $50,000.
A state appointed probate referee determines the market value of the lease as of date of death. If the probate referee determines the market value is less than $50,000 the Affidavit, a certificate of death, legal description and an Inventory and Appraisal are filed with the Clerk of the Court.
The Court Clerk returns a signed certified copy of the Affidavit. The affidavit is recorded with County Recorder. A copy of the recorded Affidavit is provided to the leasing agent. The affidavit identifies the heirs as owners and payees.
An oil and gas lease owned by a decedent may be transferred to heirs by an “Affidavit Real Property of Small Value.” The Affidavit is economical and efficient. The Affidavit changes the payee from the decedent to the heirs so monthly lease checks can be deposited.