Decedent's Estates

The information provided for decedent's estates will be very generalized and minimal since every estate is different and there are several types of decedent's estates making the process somewhat complicated. It is strongly suggested that the advice of legal counsel is sought.

You may wish to review the Estates and Protected Individuals Code. The Court and the Court's staff are prohibited by law (Section 1211 of the Estates and Protected Individuals Code) from providing legal advice and assistance in completing forms. The instructions and information provided on this website may be useful as a guide, however they are not meant to be all-inclusive. For those proceedings that are contested or complex, it is recommended that you consult with an attorney for guidance.

Probate can be simply described as a means of transferring title to property. Obviously, once a person dies, that person is no longer able to transfer title to property listed in their name. Probate is a procedure for transferring title to the decedent's property to the persons entitled to it.

It therefore follows that only property titled in the decedent's name alone is part of the decedent's probate estate and subject to probate. Many people believe that by having a will they will avoid probate. While a will may make probate easier, there still must be probate of those items titled in the decedent's name alone. The will tells the court which people should be entitled to the decedent's estate and probate passes title to those people. A living trust, on the other hand, can avoid probate if all of the decedent's assets are owned by the trust. Upon death, title to those assets pass according to the terms of the trust without need of probate.

After a Testator's Death

Any person in possession of an original will must deliver that Will to the Probate Court in the county of residence of the decedent along with a copy of the death certificate.