It’s all over the news – we are in a cycle of inflation. Even if you don’t listen to or read about current events, you know from experience that the cost of almost everything you use or consume is going up.
When the cost associated with an item goes up, it is generally considered bad news for the consumer. However, under recently enacted laws, the maximum dollar value of a deceased person’s estate for transferring property without the necessity of a full probate administration has increased. This is great news for someone settling the small estate of a deceased person!
There are summary procedures that can be used to transfer property of a deceased person if the total value of the deceased person’s estate is under a certain value. Prior to April 1, 2022, personal property (for example bank accounts) of a deceased person could be transferred by a simple affidavit if the total estate (with certain exceptions) was under $166,250. For persons passing away after April 1, 2022, the amount that can be collected by affidavit is $184,500 if the total estate is under that amount.
Regarding real estate held by an individual in his or her name only, a court order is necessary to transfer the property from the deceased person to his or her heirs, but a full probate may not be required. The monetary thresholds stated above are the same for persons seeking a court order transferring real estate; however, for transfers of real property with an even lower value, the pre-April 1, 2022 rate was increased from $55,425 to $61,500. This method of changing ownership is very important for persons inheriting a fractional interest in real property.
One other piece of inflationary good news is the raising of the amount of equity in real property that can be protected from creditors by recording a Declaration of Homestead with the county. Prior to 2021, the amount of the homestead exemption ranged from $50,000 to $150,000 according to which statutorily defined class of persons the homeowner falls into. As of 2021 the exemption amount was increased so that now it ranges from $300,000 to $600,000. This can be of monumental importance to someone faced with losing their home to a creditor.
© 2022 by Marlene S. Cooper. All rights reserved.
(You may obtain further information at the website www.marlenecooperlaw.com, by e-mail at MarleneCooperLaw@gmail.com, by phone at (626) 791-7530 or toll free at (866) 702-7600. The information in this article is of a general nature and not intended as legal advice. Seek the advice of an attorney before acting or relying upon any information in this article).