Friday, June 12, 2009

Legislation - Second Big Test for Sister-State PR Affidavit Transfer Bill

Legislation (AB 355 - Ammiano) sponsored by the Trusts & Estates Section Executive Committee (TEXCOMM) to allow a sister-state Personal Representative to collect any amount of a decedent's personal property located in California via affidavit procedure (rather than filing an ancillary probate) is scheduled to face its second important test on Tuesday, June 16, before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

The bill passed the Assembly on the Consent Calendar and, assuming that the most recent (6/9/09) amendments were taken at the behest of Senate Judiciary Committee staff, looks to be moving smoothly through the process.

Current law permits sister-state PR's to utilize California's simplified affidavit procedure (Probate Code section 13100 et seq.) for property transfers below the $100,000 threshhold, but requires them to initiate a second, ancillary probate proceeding in California if the property of a non-California decedent exceeds that amount. TEXCOMM notes in its legislative proposal, T&E-2009-08, that such proceedings "are costly, time-consuming, and can unnecessarily delay distribution of the estate."

The new procedure would only apply where the decedent did not own real property in California, and imposes specific procedural requirements and safeguards.

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