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Property passing to someone other than a spouse is subject to administration. Property passing to the spouse by intestate or testate succession is not required to be administered in probate. If the assets are held in trust, they must go through probate. The same is true if the spouse receives less than a fee simply absolute interest. (California Probate Code 13501). The spouse may still elect to receive the assets in probate as they will be generally free of creditor’s claims on community debts. (Probate Code 13502). The assets can be paid to a trustee upon the election of the survivor and thus election wills are valid. If the assets do not pass by probate, the spouse can still obtain paperwork by confirmation proceedings. (Probate Code 13650-13658). The procedure is extremely simple and requires the listing of the assets and a claim that the spouse now owns them under a will or by intestate succession. With notice to the personal representative and legatees, the court will issue a judgment but not if there is proof to the contrary. Confirmation costs a lot less than probate administration, as the personal representative receives no statutory compensation on the value of the ...

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