State Codes and Statutes

State Codes and Statutes

Statutes > California > Prob > 6600-6615

PROBATE CODE
SECTION 6600-6615



6600.  (a) Subject to subdivision (b), for the purposes of this
chapter, "decedent's estate" means all the decedent's personal
property, wherever located, and all the decedent's real property
located in this state.
   (b) For the purposes of this chapter:
   (1) Any property or interest or lien thereon which, at the time of
the decedent's death, was held by the decedent as a joint tenant, or
in which the decedent had a life or other interest terminable upon
the decedent's death, shall be excluded in determining the estate of
the decedent or its value.
   (2) A multiple-party account to which the decedent was a party at
the time of the decedent's death shall be excluded in determining the
estate of the decedent or its value, whether or not all or a portion
of the sums on deposit are community property, to the extent that
the sums on deposit belong after the death of the decedent to a
surviving party, P.O.D. payee, or beneficiary. As used in this
paragraph, the terms "multiple-party account," "party," "P.O.D.
payee," and "beneficiary" have the meanings given those terms in
Article 2 (commencing with Section 5120) of Chapter 1 of Part 2 of
Division 5.


6601.  As used in this chapter, "minor child" means a child of the
decedent who was under the age of 18 at the time of the decedent's
death and who survived the decedent.



6602.  A petition may be filed under this chapter requesting an
order setting aside the decedent's estate to the decedent's surviving
spouse and minor children, or one or more of them, as provided in
this chapter, if the net value of the decedent's estate, over and
above all liens and encumbrances at the date of death and over and
above the value of any probate homestead interest set apart out of
the decedent's estate under Section 6520, does not exceed twenty
thousand dollars ($20,000).



6603.  The petition shall be filed in the superior court of a county
in which the estate of the decedent may be administered.



6604.  (a) The petition shall allege that this chapter applies and
request that an order be made setting aside the estate of the
decedent as provided in this chapter.
   (b) The petition shall include the following:
   (1) If proceedings for administration of the estate are not
pending, the facts necessary to determine the county in which the
estate of the decedent may be administered.
   (2) The name, age, address, and relation to the decedent of each
heir and devisee of the decedent, so far as known to the petitioner.
   (3) A specific description and estimate of the value of the
decedent's estate and a list of all liens and encumbrances at the
date of death.
   (4) A specific description and estimate of the value of any of the
decedent's real property located outside this state that passed to
the surviving spouse and minor children of the decedent, or any one
or more of them, under the will of the decedent or by intestate
succession.
   (5) A specific description and estimate of the value of any of the
decedent's property described in subdivision (b) of Section 6600
that passed to the surviving spouse and minor children of the
decedent, or any one or more of them, upon the death of the decedent.
   (6) A designation of any property as to which a probate homestead
is set apart out of the decedent's estate under Section 6520.
   (7) A statement of any unpaid liabilities for expenses of the last
illness, funeral charges, and expenses of administration.
   (8) The requested disposition of the estate of the decedent under
this chapter and the considerations that justify the requested
disposition.



6605.  (a) If proceedings for the administration of the estate of
the decedent are pending, a petition under this chapter shall be
filed in those proceedings without the payment of an additional fee.
   (b) If proceedings for the administration of the estate of the
decedent have not yet been commenced, a petition under this chapter
may be filed concurrently with a petition for the probate of the
decedent's will or for administration of the estate of the decedent,
or, if no petition for probate or for administration is being filed,
a petition under this chapter may be filed independently.
   (c) A petition may be filed under this chapter at any time prior
to the entry of the order for final distribution of the estate.




6606.  (a) A petition may be filed under this chapter by any of the
following:
   (1) The person named in the will of the decedent as executor.
   (2) The surviving spouse of the decedent.
   (3) The guardian of a minor child of the decedent.
   (4) A child of the decedent who was a minor at the time the
decedent died.
   (5) The personal representative if a personal representative has
been appointed for the decedent's estate.
   (b) The guardian of a minor child of the decedent may file the
petition without authorization or approval of the court in which the
guardianship proceeding is pending.



6607.  (a) Where proceedings for the administration of the estate of
the decedent are not pending when the petition is filed under this
chapter and the petition under this chapter is not joined with a
petition for the probate of the decedent's will or for administration
of the estate of the decedent, the petitioner shall give notice of
the hearing on the petition as provided in Section 1220 to (1) each
person named as executor in the decedent's will and to (2) each heir
or devisee of the decedent, if known to the petitioner. A copy of the
petition shall be sent with the notice of hearing to the surviving
spouse, each child, and each devisee who is not petitioning.
   (b) If the petition under this chapter is filed with a petition
for the probate of the decedent's will or with a petition for
administration of the estate of the deceased spouse, notice of the
hearing on the petition shall be given to the persons and in the
manner prescribed by Section 8003 and shall be included in the notice
required by that section.
   (c) If proceedings for the administration of the estate of the
decedent are pending when the petition is filed under this chapter
and the hearing of the petition for probate of the will or
administration of the estate of the decedent is set for a day more
than 15 days after the filing of the petition filed under this
chapter, the petition under this chapter shall be set for hearing at
the same time as the petition for probate of the will or for
administration of the estate, and notice of hearing on the petition
filed under this chapter shall be given by the petitioner as provided
in Section 1220. If the hearing of the petition for probate of the
will or for administration of the estate is not set for hearing for a
day more than 15 days after the filing of the petition under this
chapter, (1) the petition filed under this chapter shall be set for
hearing at least 15 days after the date on which it is filed, (2)
notice of the hearing on the petition filed under this chapter shall
be given by the petitioner as provided in Section 1220, and (3) if
the petition for probate of the will or for administration of the
estate has not already been heard, that petition shall be continued
until that date and heard at the same time unless the court otherwise
orders.


6608.  If a petition is filed under this chapter, the personal
representative, or the petitioner if no personal representative has
been appointed, shall file with the clerk of the court, prior to the
hearing of the petition, an inventory and appraisal made as provided
in Part 3 (commencing with Section 8800) of Division 7. The personal
representative or the petitioner, as the case may be, may appraise
the assets which a personal representative could appraise under
Section 8901.



6609.  (a) If the court determines that the net value of the
decedent's estate, over and above all liens and encumbrances at the
date of death of the decedent and over and above the value of any
probate homestead interest set apart out of the decedent's estate
under Section 6520, does not exceed twenty thousand dollars ($20,000)
as of the date of the decedent's death, the court shall make an
order under this section unless the court determines that making an
order under this section would be inequitable under the circumstances
of the particular case.
   (b) In determining whether to make an order under this section,
the court shall consider the needs of the surviving spouse and minor
children, the liens and encumbrances on the property of the decedent'
s estate, the claims of creditors, the needs of the heirs or devisees
of the decedent, the intent of the decedent with respect to the
property in the estate and the estate plan of the decedent as
expressed in inter vivos and testamentary transfers or by other
means, and any other relevant considerations. If the surviving spouse
has remarried at the time the petition is heard, it shall be
presumed that the needs of the surviving spouse do not justify the
setting aside of the small estate, or any portion thereof, to the
surviving spouse. This presumption is a presumption affecting the
burden of proof.
   (c) Subject to subdivision (d), if the court makes an order under
this section, the court shall assign the whole of the decedent's
estate, subject to all liens and encumbrances on property in the
estate at the date of the decedent's death, to the surviving spouse
and the minor children of the decedent, or any one or more of them.
   (d) If there are any liabilities for expenses of the last illness,
funeral charges, or expenses of administration that are unpaid at
the time the court makes an order under this section, the court shall
make such orders as are necessary so that those unpaid liabilities
are paid.
   (e) Title to property in the decedent's estate vests absolutely in
the surviving spouse, minor children, or any or all of them, as
provided in the order, subject to all liens and encumbrances on
property in the estate at the date of the decedent's death, and there
shall be no further proceedings in the administration of the
decedent's estate unless additional property in the decedent's estate
is discovered.



6610.  Upon becoming final, an order under Section 6609 shall be
conclusive on all persons, whether or not they are then in being.



6611.  (a) Subject to the limitations and conditions specified in
this section, the person or persons in whom title vested pursuant to
Section 6609 are personally liable for the unsecured debts of the
decedent.
   (b) The personal liability of a person under this section does not
exceed the fair market value at the date of the decedent's death of
the property title to which vested in that person pursuant to Section
6609, less the total of all of the following:
   (1) The amount of any liens and encumbrances on that property.
   (2) The value of any probate homestead interest set apart under
Section 6520 out of that property.
   (3) The value of any other property set aside under Section 6510
out of that property.
   (c) In any action or proceeding based upon an unsecured debt of
the decedent, the surviving spouse of the decedent, the child or
children of the decedent, or the guardian of the minor child or
children of the decedent, may assert any defense, cross-complaint, or
setoff which would have been available to the decedent if the
decedent had not died.
   (d) If proceedings are commenced in this state for the
administration of the estate of the decedent and the time for filing
claims has commenced, any action upon the personal liability of a
person under this section is barred to the same extent as provided
for claims under Part 4 (commencing with Section 9000) of Division 7,
except as to the following:
   (1) Creditors who commence judicial proceedings for the
enforcement of the debt and serve the person liable under this
section with the complaint therein prior to the expiration of the
time for filing claims.
   (2) Creditors who have or who secure an acknowledgment in writing
of the person liable under this section that that person is liable
for the debts.
   (3) Creditors who file a timely claim in the proceedings for the
administration of the estate of the decedent.
   (e) Section 366.2 of the Code of Civil Procedure applies in an
action under this section.



6612.  If a petition filed under this chapter is filed with a
petition for the probate of the decedent's will or for administration
of the estate of the decedent and the court determines not to make
an order under Section 6609, the court shall act on the petition for
probate of the decedent's will or for administration of the estate of
the decedent in the same manner as if no petition had been filed
under this chapter, and the estate shall then be administered in the
same manner as if no petition had been filed under this chapter.



6613.  The attorney's fees for services performed in connection with
the filing of a petition and the obtaining of a court order under
this chapter shall be determined by private agreement between the
attorney and the client and are not subject to approval by the court.
If there is no agreement between the attorney and the client
concerning the attorney's fees for services performed in connection
with the filing of a petition and obtaining of a court order under
this chapter and there is a dispute concerning the reasonableness of
the attorney's fees for those services, a petition may be filed with
the court in the same proceeding requesting that the court determine
the reasonableness of the attorney's fees for those services. If
there is an agreement between the attorney and the client concerning
the attorney's fees for services performed in connection with the
filing of a petition and obtaining a court order under this chapter
and there is a dispute concerning the meaning of the agreement, a
petition may be filed with the court in the same proceeding
requesting that the court determine the dispute.



6614.  Sections 6600 to 6613, inclusive, do not apply if the
decedent died before July 1, 1987. If the decedent died before July
1, 1987, the case continues to be governed by the law applicable to
the case prior to July 1, 1987.


6615.  A reference in any statute of this state or in a written
instrument, including a will or trust, to a provision of former
Sections 640 to 647.5, inclusive, repealed by Chapter 783 of the
Statutes of 1986, shall be deemed to be a reference to the comparable
provisions of this chapter.