Can a Bank Account Avoid Probate?

If you are the successor trustee, executor or administrator of the estate then there might be a bank account that was in the name of the decedent and not in the name of the trust, or joint tenancy, etc. If the bank account was under one-hundred and fifty thousand dollars ($150,000.00), as of the date of this post, then there might be an option besides probate court. Under the California Probate Code Section 13100 states that you can create an Affidavit for the account if all of the property in the estate does not exceed one-hundred and fifty thousand dollars ($150,000.00). Thus, if there was one account in the estate and it was worth fifty thousand dollars ($50,000.00) then you could use this Affidavit, an example can be found here. If there are multiple accounts that exceed one-hundred and fifty thousand dollars ($150,000.00) then it could be probate time.

The requirements are:

  1. That 40 days have elapsed since the date of death
  2. That you are the trustee, executor, administrator or entitled by the probate code to a role to administer the estate.
  3. That the probate estate does not exceed one-hundred and fifty thousand dollars ($150,000.00), i.e. all accounts and property in the decedent’s name.
  4. Names and addresses of all beneficiaries.
  5. Death certificate and other documents as required by the institution. Every institution is different.

Then you will notarize the document and submit it to the bank. After they process the paperwork. They will contact you to transfer the account or write a check so that you can distribute it to beneficiaries. This money is not yours but belongs to all entitle beneficiaries and if you have any questions about who that is then please contact me.

Coastal Pacific Law attorneys are experienced in estate planning, and can help with your trust administration, probate administration, wills and trusts. To schedule a complimentary consultation, call (619)786-6563, or fill out a Contact Request Form.

This blog does not provide legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. If you need legal advice, please contact an attorney directly.

Photo by Matt Hoffman