Petition to Determine Succession to Real Property
Transferring Real Estate and Personal Property Worth Less than $166,250
Whenever real estate is owned by the decedent, there must be some type of procedure to transfer the real estate to the heirs. Fortunately, there is a summary procedure when all the assets are valued at less than $166,250. This probate procedure can be used by any heir of the decedent, whether it’s the surviving spouse, children, grandchildren, parents, etc.
Probate Code §13150, et seq. allows for the transfer of real estate and personal property to the heirs by filing a Petition to Determine Succession to Real Property so long as all the assets owned by the decedent are worth less than $166,250. There is one court hearing required for this procedure.
As required by Revenue & Taxation Code § 480(b), the first step is to file a Change of Ownership Statement – Death of Real Property Owner (Form BOE 502-D) with the county assessor in the county in which the decedent owned real estate for each parcel of real estate.
The next step is for the probate referee to appraise the property with the required Inventory and Appraisal form (Form DE-160, and Form DE-161).
So long as the property is valued at less than $166,250 by the probate referee and at least 40 days have passed since the date of death, the heirs can file a Petition to Determine Succession to Real Property (Estates of $166,250 or Less) (Form DE-310) with the probate court in either the county where the decedent lived or where the real estate is located. A certified copy of the death certificate must be attached, as well as the will, if any. The petition is signed by the heirs of the estate.
When filed with the court, the court clerk will set a date for a court hearing. The petitioner mails notice of the hearing to all the beneficiaries of the estate and anyone named in the will, if any. At the hearing, anyone can come and consent or make objections. Usually, the court approves the petition at the hearing and signs the probate court Order Determining Succession to Real Property (Form DE-315).
The probate court order must then be recorded with the county recorder in the county where the real estate is located, along with a preliminary change of ownership report as required by Revenue & Taxation Code §480.3. The property then is then transferred in the name of the heirs.
If applicable under Revenue & Taxation Code §63.1, a Parent-Child Exclusion (Form BOE-58-AH) or Grandparent-Grandchild Exclusion (Form BOE-58-G) can be filed with the county assessor to exclude the transfer of the real estate from reassessment for property tax purposes.