Can I Sell Property Without Probate?

In many instances, property can be sold without probate. If the property meets any of the 3 following requirements, probate is not necessary to sell the property.

  1. The property was held jointly with right of survivorship with another person who survives the decedent.
  2. The property has a beneficiary designated who survives the decedent.
  3. The property has a payable on death clause to another person who survives the decedent.

If any of these tools are employed, then the property automatically goes to the designated survivor and the survivor can sell it, rent it, or do whatever they choose with it.

If the property is only in the decedent’s name, even then there are many instances when it can be sold without probate. The rules vary from state to state but typically, if the property does not have a large value, it can be sold without probate. In California, the monetary limit for property sales that do not require probate is $150,000.
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How to Sell Items in California That Total Less Than $150,000

The specific forms that must be used to sell property without probate are driven by the institution concerned. In California, to sell a vehicle, you have to contact the Department of Motor Vehicles for the sale documents. To sell real property (real estate), you will have to have the real property appraised by an independent appraiser appointed by the Court known as a probate referee. To sell stock, you will have to work with special entities known as transfer agents who use their own forms that require a medallion guarantee signature.

Have questions about selling property and probate? The Law Offices of David Baker have 30 years of experience working in probate. We work in the following California Bay Area locations: San Francisco, Berkeley, Albany, Pinole, Crockett, Martinez, El Sobrante, El Cerrito, Vallejo and Richmond. Call us or contact us today to discuss your situation (510) 724-2020.
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