California Increases Small Estates Exclusion in 2020 from $150,000 to $166,250
In California, starting in 2020 a person can use a Probate Code section 13100 et seq. affidavit to avoid probate if a decedent's total estate is $166,250 or less. Previously, the maximum amount allowable to avoid probate for a small estate was $150,000.
Interestingly enough, the small estates exclusion for real property in California under Probate Code section 13200 et seq. for a person succeeding to a decedent's real property will also increase to $55,425 in the year 2020 up from $50,000 previously.
For most people in the Bay Area and larger metropolitan areas of California, these amounts will likely not make much of a difference given the relatively small amount of the change in value. It will be interesting to see in years to come if the Legislature decides to increase the exemption amount more dramatically or if studies show that the increase in exclusion amount serves to benefit more or less of the population.