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Asset Protection, Trusts and Wills

OUR GOAL—YOUR Complete Satisfaction and Understanding
Our goal is to provide each of our clients with as much information as possible about Asset Protection, Trusts and Wills. As you will see as you review the following material, there is a lot of information to digest and consider. Many legal aspects may be complex and confusing. We want you to know we are available to speak with you about any legal aspects of Asset Protection, Trusts and Wills at your convenience either over the telephone or in person at the Spiegel and Utrera, P.A., office nearest you. What do some of these terms mean? Click here for a Glossary. For answers to Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Asset Protection, Trusts and Wills. Click here for FAQs.

California Summary Estate Administration

Most states have enacted laws for the expedited probate administration of small estates in order to enable heirs to obtain property of the deceased provided certain requirements are met. As a result, small estates may be summarily administered with less time and cost. If the deceased had conveyed most property to a trust but there remains some property, small estate laws may also be available.

If certain requirements are met, the personal property of a deceased may be transferred to the successors (such as beneficiaries of the deceased’s will, intestate heirs, guardians, conservators, trustees, and attorneys in fact) of the deceased without the need to open a probate with the probate court . In order to do so, the entire estate of the deceased must qualify as a small estate and a document known as an affidavit must be filed to initiate the process. The successors of the deceased may make their claims to the property and take title if there are no conflicting claims. Title to real property may not be transferred.

The affidavit procedure may be used only if no probate proceeding is currently pending or has taken place for the estate in California; or the personal representative of the decedent consents in writing to transfer of the property. Furthermore, the affidavit procedure may not be used until at least 40 days have elapsed since the date of the death of the deceased. The personal property for the deceased qualifies for this procedure only if the total current gross fair market value of the real and personal property of the deceased in California does not exceed $100,000. The affidavit procedure is limited solely to the transfer of the personal property of the deceased. However, the combined real and personal property of the deceased in California must be considered in determining whether the total value of the estate exceeds $100,000. Insurance policy or retirement plan proceeds payable to the estate as the designated beneficiary must be included in determining whether the total value of the estate exceeds $100,000.

Several types of property is excluded in evaluating whether the total value of the estate exceeds $100,000:

Spiegel & Utrera, P.A. stands ready to help you during the administration of your loved one’s estate.

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Our Office


1840 Coral Way
4th Floor
Miami, FL 33145
Toll Free: (800) 603 - 3900
(305) 854-6000
Fax: (305) 857-3700
Natalia Utrera, Esq.,
Managing Attorney

New York City

1 Maiden Lane
5th Floor
New York, NY 10038
Toll Free: (800) 576-1100
(212) 962-1000
Fax: (212) 964-5600
Nicolas Spigner, Esq.
Managing Attorney

Clifton, NJ

642 Broad St., Suite 1B
Clifton, NJ 07013
Toll Free: (888) 336-8400
(973) 473-2000
Fax: (973) 778-2900
Sandy A. Adelstein
Managing Attorney

Los Angeles

8939 S Sepulveda Blvd.
Suite 400
Los Angeles, CA 90045
Toll Free: (888) 520-7800
(310) 258-9700
Fax: (310) 258-9400
Nicolas Spigner, Esq.
Managing Attorney


9 East Loockerman Street
Suite 202
Dover, DE 19901
Toll Free: (888) 641-3800
(302) 744-9800
Fax: (302) 674-2100
Courtney Riordan, Esq.
Managing Attorney

Las Vegas

2545 Chandler Avenue
Suite 4
Las Vegas, NV 89120
Toll Free: (888) 530 4500
(702) 364 2200
Fax: (702) 458 2100
Joel S. Beck, Esq.
Managing Attorney


Continental Office Plaza, Suite L12
2340 Des Plaines River Road
Des Plaines, IL 60018
Toll Free: (888) 514-9800
(312) 443-1500
Fax: (312) 443-8900
Michael C. Welchko, Esq.
Managing Attorney

General Counsel Club®

Unlimited Legal & Business Advice
Toll Free: 1 (800) 734 - 9900
Fax: 1 (800) 520 - 7800
Natalia Utrera, Esq.,
Managing Attorney



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