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SB 155, as introduced, Hertzberg. Decedent’s estates

Existing law provides for the disposition of a testator’s property by will. Existing law establishes the Uniform Testamentary Additions to Trusts Act, under which a valid devise of property may be made by will to the trustee or trustees of a trust established or to be established by the testator or by the testator and some other person, commonly referred to as a pour-over will. Existing law provides that the decedent’s property, including property devised by a will, is generally subject to probate administration, except as specified. Existing law establishes simplified procedures for addressing a decedent’s estate valued under $150,000, including authorizing the successor of the decedent to collect property due to the decedent without letters of administration or awaiting probate of a will.

This bill would establish simplified procedures for the distribution of property, real or personal property of any amount or value, devised by a will to the trustee or trustees of a recipient trust, as defined, without procuring letters of administration. The bill would authorize the trustee or trustees of a recipient trust to file a verified petition setting forth specified facts in the superior court of the county in which the estate of the decedent may be administered, and would authorize the court to issue an order that a particular item or items of property pass without administration and are transferred to the petitioner as trustee or trustees of the recipient trust. The bill would require attorneys’ fees for services performed in connection with these provisions to be determined by a private agreement between the attorney and the client, and would specify that attorneys’ fees are not subject to approval by the court.

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