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AB-473 Disposition of estate without administration.(2019-2020)

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Date Published: 07/30/2019 09:00 PM
AB473:v96#DOCUMENT

Assembly Bill No. 473
CHAPTER 122

An act to amend Sections 6602, 6609, 13050, 13100, 13101, 13111, 13112, 13151, 13152, 13154, 13200, 13206, 13207, 13562, 13563, 13600, 13601, and 13602 of, to add Sections 13117, 13211, and 13565 to, and to add Part 21 (commencing with Section 890) to Division 2 of, the Probate Code, relating to estates.

[ Approved by Governor  July 30, 2019. Filed with Secretary of State  July 30, 2019. ]

LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


AB 473, Maienschein. Disposition of estate without administration.
(1) Existing law authorizes procedures to dispose of a decedent’s personal and real property that is valued below specified dollar amounts without a full probate administration. Existing law also authorizes procedures for a decedent’s property, including unpaid compensation, to pass to a surviving spouse, under specified conditions that include whether the property is community, quasi-community, or separate property.
This bill would increase the specified dollar amounts for a small estate to qualify for disposition without a full probate administration. The bill would also increase the dollar amounts for a surviving spouse to collect unpaid compensation from the decedent-spouse’s employer. The bill would also require, on April 1, 2022, and at each 3-year interval ending on April 1 thereafter, the Judicial Council to adjust these dollar amounts based on a particular consumer price index published by the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics. The bill would further require the Judicial Council to publish the adjusted dollar amounts and the date of the next scheduled adjustment.
(2) Existing law imposes various types of liability on a person who receives personal or real property from an estate pursuant to the above-described procedures and is later required to return that property. Under certain conditions, the extent of the recipient’s liability includes interest on the fair market value of the property at the rate payable on a money judgment.
This bill would instead impose an interest rate of 7 percent per annum on the fair market value of the property. The bill would also authorize a court, in its discretion, to excuse a person from the liability to pay interest, in whole or in part, if the person acted reasonably and in good faith under the circumstances as known to the person and it would be equitable to do so.
(3) This bill would make technical, nonsubstantive changes to these provisions.
Vote: MAJORITY   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: YES   Local Program: NO  

The people of the State of California do enact as follows:


SECTION 1.

 Part 21 (commencing with Section 890) is added to Division 2 of the Probate Code, to read:

PART 21. Periodic Adjustment of Dollar Amounts

890.
 (a) On April 1, 2022, and at each three-year interval ending on April 1 thereafter, the dollar amounts specified in Chapter 6 (commencing with Section 6600) of Part 3 of Division 6 and in Division 8 (commencing with Section 13000) in effect immediately before that date shall be adjusted as provided in subdivision (b).
(b) The Judicial Council shall determine the amount of the adjustment based on the change in the United States city average of the “Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers,” as published by the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, from the December that is 40 months prior to the adjustment to the December immediately preceding the adjustment, with each adjusted amount rounded to the nearest twenty-five dollars ($25).
(c) Beginning April 1, 2022, the Judicial Council shall, after adjusting the amounts as directed in subdivision (b), publish a list of the current dollar amounts for the provisions identified in subdivision (a), together with the date of the next scheduled adjustment.
(d) Adjustments made under subdivision (a) do not apply when the decedent’s death preceded the date of adjustment.

SEC. 2.

 Section 6602 of the Probate Code is amended to read:

6602.
 A petition may be filed under this chapter requesting an order setting aside the decedent’s estate to the decedent’s surviving spouse and minor children, or one or more of them, as provided in this chapter, if the net value of the decedent’s estate, over and above all liens and encumbrances at the date of death and over and above the value of any probate homestead interest set apart out of the decedent’s estate under Section 6520, does not exceed eighty-five thousand nine hundred dollars ($85,900), as adjusted periodically in accordance with Section 890.

SEC. 3.

 Section 6609 of the Probate Code is amended to read:

6609.
 (a) If the court determines that the net value of the decedent’s estate, over and above all liens and encumbrances at the date of death of the decedent and over and above the value of any probate homestead interest set apart out of the decedent’s estate under Section 6520, does not exceed eighty-five thousand nine hundred dollars ($85,900), as adjusted periodically in accordance with Section 890, as of the date of the decedent’s death, the court shall make an order under this section unless the court determines that making an order under this section would be inequitable under the circumstances of the particular case.
(b) In determining whether to make an order under this section, the court shall consider the needs of the surviving spouse and minor children, the liens and encumbrances on the property of the decedent’s estate, the claims of creditors, the needs of the heirs or devisees of the decedent, the intent of the decedent with respect to the property in the estate and the estate plan of the decedent as expressed in inter vivos and testamentary transfers or by other means, and any other relevant considerations. If the surviving spouse has remarried at the time the petition is heard, it shall be presumed that the needs of the surviving spouse do not justify the setting aside of the small estate, or any portion thereof, to the surviving spouse. This presumption is a presumption affecting the burden of proof.
(c) Subject to subdivision (d), if the court makes an order under this section, the court shall assign the whole of the decedent’s estate, subject to all liens and encumbrances on property in the estate at the date of the decedent’s death, to the surviving spouse and the minor children of the decedent, or any one or more of them.
(d) If there are any liabilities for expenses of the last illness, funeral charges, or expenses of administration that are unpaid at the time the court makes an order under this section, the court shall make the necessary orders for payment of those unpaid liabilities.
(e) Title to property in the decedent’s estate vests absolutely in the surviving spouse, minor children, or any or all of them, as provided in the order, subject to all liens and encumbrances on property in the estate at the date of the decedent’s death, and there shall be no further proceedings in the administration of the decedent’s estate unless additional property in the decedent’s estate is discovered.

SEC. 4.

 Section 13050 of the Probate Code is amended to read:

13050.
 (a) For the purposes of this part:
(1) Any property or interest or lien thereon that, at the time of the decedent’s death, was held by the decedent as a joint tenant, or in which the decedent had a life or other interest terminable upon the decedent’s death, or that was held by the decedent and passed to the decedent’s surviving spouse pursuant to Section 13500, shall be excluded in determining the property or estate of the decedent or its value. This excluded property shall include, but not be limited to, property in a trust revocable by the decedent during the decedent’s lifetime.
(2) A multiple-party account to which the decedent was a party at the time of the decedent’s death shall be excluded in determining the property or estate of the decedent or its value, whether or not all or a portion of the sums on deposit are community property, to the extent that the sums on deposit belong after the death of the decedent to a surviving party, P.O.D. payee, or beneficiary. For the purposes of this paragraph, the terms “multiple-party account,” “party,” “P.O.D. payee,” and “beneficiary” are defined in Article 2 (commencing with Section 5120) of Chapter 1 of Part 2 of Division 5.
(b) For the purposes of this part, all of the following property shall be excluded in determining the property or estate of the decedent or its value:
(1) Any vehicle registered under Division 3 (commencing with Section 4000) of the Vehicle Code or titled under Division 16.5 (commencing with Section 38000) of the Vehicle Code.
(2) Any vessel numbered under Division 3.5 (commencing with Section 9840) of the Vehicle Code.
(3) Any manufactured home, mobilehome, commercial coach, truck camper, or floating home registered under Part 2 (commencing with Section 18000) of Division 13 of the Health and Safety Code.
(c) For the purposes of this part, the value of the following property shall be excluded in determining the value of the decedent’s property in this state:
(1) Any amounts due to the decedent for services in the Armed Forces of the United States.
(2) The amount, not exceeding sixteen thousand six hundred twenty-five dollars ($16,625), as adjusted periodically in accordance with Section 890, of salary or other compensation, including compensation for unused vacation, owing to the decedent for personal services from any employment.

SEC. 5.

 Section 13100 of the Probate Code is amended to read:

13100.
 Excluding the property described in Section 13050, if the gross value of the decedent’s real and personal property in this state does not exceed one hundred sixty-six thousand two hundred fifty dollars ($166,250), as adjusted periodically in accordance with Section 890, and if 40 days have elapsed since the death of the decedent, the successor of the decedent may, without procuring letters of administration or awaiting probate of the will, do any of the following with respect to one or more particular items of property:
(a) Collect any particular item of property that is money due the decedent.
(b) Receive any particular item of property that is tangible personal property of the decedent.
(c) Have any particular item of property that is evidence of a debt, obligation, interest, right, security, or chose in action belonging to the decedent transferred, whether or not secured by a lien on real property.

SEC. 6.

 Section 13101 of the Probate Code is amended to read:

13101.
 (a) To collect money, receive tangible personal property, or have evidences of a debt, obligation, interest, right, security, or chose in action transferred under this chapter, an affidavit or a declaration under penalty of perjury under the laws of this state shall be furnished to the holder of the decedent’s property stating all of the following:
(1) The decedent’s name.
(2) The date and place of the decedent’s death.
(3) “At least 40 days have elapsed since the death of the decedent, as shown in a certified copy of the decedent’s death certificate attached to this affidavit or declaration.”
(4) Either of the following, as appropriate:
(A) “No proceeding is now being or has been conducted in California for administration of the decedent’s estate.”
(B) “The decedent’s personal representative has consented in writing to the payment, transfer, or delivery to the affiant or declarant of the property described in the affidavit or declaration.”
(5) “The current gross fair market value of the decedent’s real and personal property in California, excluding the property described in Section 13050 of the California Probate Code, does not exceed [Insert dollar amount specified in subdivision (g) of Section 13101 of the California Probate Code].”
(6) A description of the property of the decedent that is to be paid, transferred, or delivered to the affiant or declarant.
(7) The name of the successor of the decedent (as defined in Section 13006 of the California Probate Code) to the described property.
(8) Either of the following, as appropriate:
(A) “The affiant or declarant is the successor of the decedent (as defined in Section 13006 of the California Probate Code) to the decedent’s interest in the described property.”
(B) “The affiant or declarant is authorized under Section 13051 of the California Probate Code to act on behalf of the successor of the decedent (as defined in Section 13006 of the California Probate Code) with respect to the decedent’s interest in the described property.”
(9) “No other person has a superior right to the interest of the decedent in the described property.”
(10) “The affiant or declarant requests that the described property be paid, delivered, or transferred to the affiant or declarant.”
(11) “The affiant or declarant affirms or declares under penalty of perjury under the laws of the State of California that the foregoing is true and correct.”
(b) Where more than one person executes the affidavit or declaration under this section, the statements required by subdivision (a) shall be modified as appropriate to reflect that fact.
(c) If the particular item of property to be transferred under this chapter is a debt or other obligation secured by a lien on real property and the instrument creating the lien has been recorded in the office of the county recorder of the county where the real property is located, the affidavit or declaration shall satisfy the requirements both of this section and of Section 13106.5.
(d) A certified copy of the decedent’s death certificate shall be attached to the affidavit or declaration.
(e) If the decedent’s personal representative has consented to the payment, transfer, or delivery of the described property to the affiant or declarant, a copy of the consent and of the personal representative’s letters shall be attached to the affidavit or declaration.
(f) If the decedent dies on or after April 1, 2022, the list of adjusted dollar amounts, published in accordance with subdivision (c) of Section 890, in effect on the date of the decedent’s death, shall be attached to the affidavit or declaration.
(g) (1) If the decedent dies prior to April 1, 2022, the dollar amount for paragraph (5) of subdivision (a) is one hundred sixty-six thousand two hundred fifty dollars ($166,250).
(2) If the decedent dies on or after April 1, 2022, the dollar amount for paragraph (5) of subdivision (a) is the adjusted dollar amount, published in accordance with subdivision (c) of Section 890, in effect on the date of the decedent’s death.

SEC. 7.

 Section 13111 of the Probate Code is amended to read:

13111.
 (a) Subject to the provisions of this section, if proceedings for the administration of the decedent’s estate are commenced in this state, or if the decedent’s personal representative has consented to the payment, transfer, or delivery of the decedent’s property under this chapter and the personal representative later requests that the property be restored to the estate, each person to whom payment, delivery, or transfer of the decedent’s property is made under this chapter is liable for:
(1) The restitution of the property to the estate if the person still has the property, together with (A) the net income the person received from the property and (B) if the person encumbered the property after it was delivered or transferred to the person, the amount necessary to satisfy the balance of the encumbrance as of the date the property is restored to the estate.
(2) The restitution to the estate of the fair market value of the property if the person no longer has the property, together with (A) the net income the person received from the property and (B) interest on the fair market value of the property from the date of disposition at the rate of 7 percent per annum. For the purposes of this subdivision, the “fair market value of the property” is the fair market value, determined as of the time of the disposition of the property, of the property paid, delivered, or transferred to the person under this chapter, less any liens and encumbrances on the property at that time.
(b) Subject to subdivision (c) and subject to any additional liability the person has under Sections 13109 to 13112, inclusive, if the person fraudulently secured the payment, delivery, or transfer of the decedent’s property under this chapter, the person is liable under this section for restitution to the decedent’s estate of three times the fair market value of the property. For the purposes of this subdivision, the “fair market value of the property” is the fair market value, determined as of the time the person liable under this subdivision presents the affidavit or declaration under this chapter, of the property paid, delivered, or transferred to the person under this chapter, less the amount of any liens and encumbrances on the property at that time.
(c) The property and amount required to be restored to the estate under this section shall be reduced by any property or amount paid by the person to satisfy a liability under Section 13109 or 13110.
(d) An action to enforce the liability under this section may be brought only by the personal representative of the estate of the decedent. Whether or not the personal representative brings an action under this section, the personal representative may enforce the liability only to the extent necessary to protect the interests of the heirs, devisees, and creditors of the decedent.
(e) An action to enforce the liability under this section is forever barred three years after presentation of the affidavit or declaration under this chapter to the holder of the decedent’s property, or three years after the discovery of the fraud, whichever is later. The three-year period specified in this subdivision is not tolled for any reason.
(f) In the case of a nondomiciliary decedent, restitution under this section shall be made to the estate in an ancillary administration proceeding.

SEC. 8.

 Section 13112 of the Probate Code is amended to read:

13112.
 (a) A person to whom payment, delivery, or transfer of the decedent’s property has been made under this chapter is not liable under Section 13109 or 13110 if proceedings for the administration of the decedent’s estate are commenced in this state, and the person satisfies the requirements of Section 13111.
(b) Except as provided in subdivision (b) of Section 13110, the aggregate of the personal liability of a person under Sections 13109 and 13110 shall not exceed the sum of the following:
(1) The fair market value, valued as of the time the affidavit or declaration is presented under this chapter, of the property paid, delivered, or transferred to the person under this chapter, less the amount of any liens and encumbrances on that property at that time.
(2) The net income the person received from the property.
(3) If the property has been disposed of, interest on the fair market value of the property accruing from the date of disposition at the rate of 7 percent per annum. For the purposes of this paragraph, “fair market value of the property” has the same meaning as defined in paragraph (2) of subdivision (a) of Section 13111.

SEC. 9.

 Section 13117 is added to the Probate Code, to read:

13117.
 If the court finds that a person to whom payment, delivery, or transfer of the decedent’s property has been made under this chapter has acted reasonably and in good faith under the circumstances as known to the person, the court may, in its discretion, excuse the person from liability to pay interest, in whole or in part, under paragraph (2) of subdivision (a) of Section 13111 or paragraph (3) of subdivision (b) of Section 13112, if it would be equitable to do so.

SEC. 10.

 Section 13151 of the Probate Code is amended to read:

13151.
 Exclusive of the property described in Section 13050, if a decedent dies leaving real property in this state and the gross value of the decedent’s real and personal property in this state does not exceed one hundred sixty-six thousand two hundred fifty dollars ($166,250), as adjusted periodically in accordance with Section 890, and 40 days have elapsed since the death of the decedent, the successor of the decedent to an interest in a particular item of property that is real property, without procuring letters of administration or awaiting the probate of the will, may file a petition in the superior court of the county in which the estate of the decedent may be administered requesting a court order determining that the petitioner has succeeded to that real property. A petition under this chapter may include an additional request that the court make an order determining that the petitioner has succeeded to personal property described in the petition.

SEC. 11.

 Section 13152 of the Probate Code is amended to read:

13152.
 (a) The petition shall be verified by each petitioner, shall contain a request that the court make an order under this chapter determining that the property described in the petition is property passing to the petitioner, and shall state all of the following:
(1) The facts necessary to determine that the petition is filed in the proper county.
(2) The gross value of the decedent’s real and personal property in this state, excluding the property described in Section 13050, as shown by the inventory and appraisal attached to the petition, does not exceed the dollar amount specified in subdivision (f).
(3) A description of the particular item of real property in this state that the petitioner alleges is property of the decedent passing to the petitioner, and a description of the personal property that the petitioner alleges is property of the decedent passing to the petitioner if the requested order also is to include a determination that the described personal property is property passing to the petitioner.
(4) The facts upon which the petitioner bases the allegation that the described property is property passing to the petitioner.
(5) Either of the following, as appropriate:
(A) A statement that no proceeding is being or has been conducted in this state for administration of the decedent’s estate.
(B) A statement that the decedent’s personal representative has consented in writing to use of the procedure provided by this chapter.
(6) Whether estate proceedings for the decedent have been commenced in any other jurisdiction and, if so, where those proceedings are pending or were conducted.
(7) The name, age, address, and relation to the decedent of each heir and devisee of the decedent, the names and addresses of all persons named as executors of the will of the decedent, and, if the petitioner is the trustee of a trust that is a devisee under the will of the decedent, the names and addresses of all persons interested in the trust, as determined in cases of future interests pursuant to paragraph (1), (2), or (3) of subdivision (a) of Section 15804, so far as known to any petitioner.
(8) The name and address of each person serving as guardian or conservator of the estate of the decedent at the time of the decedent’s death, so far as known to any petitioner.
(b) An inventory and appraisal in the form set forth in Section 8802 of the decedent’s real and personal property in this state, excluding the property described in Section 13050, shall be attached to the petition. The appraisal shall be made by a probate referee selected by the petitioner from those probate referees appointed by the Controller under Section 400 to appraise property in the county where the real property is located. The appraisal shall be made as provided in Part 3 (commencing with Section 8800) of Division 7. The petitioner may appraise the assets that a personal representative could appraise under Section 8901.
(c) If the petitioner bases the petitioner’s claim to the described property upon the will of the decedent, a copy of the will shall be attached to the petition.
(d) If the decedent’s personal representative has consented to use of the procedure provided by this chapter, a copy of the consent shall be attached to the petition.
(e) If the decedent dies on or after April 1, 2022, the list of adjusted dollar amounts, published in accordance with subdivision (c) of Section 890, in effect on the date of the decedent’s death shall be attached to the petition.
(f) (1) If the decedent dies prior to April 1, 2022, the dollar amount for paragraph (2) of subdivision (a) is one hundred sixty-six thousand two hundred fifty dollars ($166,250).
(2) If the decedent dies on or after April 1, 2022, the dollar amount for paragraph (2) of subdivision (a) is the adjusted dollar amount, published in accordance with subdivision (c) of Section 890, in effect on the date of the decedent’s death.

SEC. 12.

 Section 13154 of the Probate Code is amended to read:

13154.
 (a) If the court makes the determinations required under subdivision (b), the court shall issue an order determining (1) that real property, to be described in the order, of the decedent is property passing to the petitioners and the specific property interest of each petitioner in the described property and (2) if the petition so requests, that personal property, to be described in the order, of the decedent is property passing to the petitioners and the specific property interest of each petitioner in the described property.
(b) The court may make an order under this section only if the court makes all of the following determinations:
(1) The gross value of the decedent’s real and personal property in this state, excluding the property described in Section 13050, does not exceed one hundred sixty-six thousand two hundred fifty dollars ($166,250), as adjusted periodically in accordance with Section 890.
(2) Not less than 40 days have elapsed since the death of the decedent.
(3) Whichever of the following is appropriate:
(A) No proceeding is being or has been conducted in this state for administration of the decedent’s estate.
(B) The decedent’s personal representative has consented in writing to use of the procedure provided by this chapter.
(4) The property described in the order is property of the decedent passing to the petitioner.
(c) If the petition has attached an inventory and appraisal that satisfies the requirements of subdivision (b) of Section 13152, the determination required by paragraph (1) of subdivision (b) of this section shall be made on the basis of the verified petition and the attached inventory and appraisal, unless evidence is offered by a person opposing the petition that the gross value of the decedent’s real and personal property in this state, excluding the property described in Section 13050, exceeds one hundred sixty-six thousand two hundred fifty dollars ($166,250), as adjusted periodically in accordance with Section 890.

SEC. 13.

 Section 13200 of the Probate Code is amended to read:

13200.
 (a) No sooner than six months from the death of a decedent, a person or persons claiming as successor of the decedent to a particular item of property that is real property may file in the superior court in the county in which the decedent was domiciled at the time of death, or if the decedent was not domiciled in this state at the time of death, then in any county in which real property of the decedent is located, an affidavit in the form prescribed by the Judicial Council pursuant to Section 1001 stating all of the following:
(1) The name of the decedent.
(2) The date and place of the decedent’s death.
(3) A legal description of the real property and the interest of the decedent therein.
(4) The name and address of each person serving as guardian or conservator of the estate of the decedent at the time of the decedent’s death, so far as known to the affiant.
(5) “The gross value of all real property in the decedent’s estate located in California, as shown by the inventory and appraisal attached to this affidavit, excluding the real property described in Section 13050 of the California Probate Code, does not exceed [Insert dollar amount specified in subdivision (h)].”
(6) “At least six months have elapsed since the death of the decedent as shown in a certified copy of decedent’s death certificate attached to this affidavit.”
(7) Either of the following, as appropriate:
(A) “No proceeding is now being or has been conducted in California for administration of the decedent’s estate.”
(B) “The decedent’s personal representative has consented in writing to use of the procedure provided by this chapter.”
(8) “Funeral expenses, expenses of last illness, and all unsecured debts of the decedent have been paid.”
(9) “The affiant is the successor of the decedent (as defined in Section 13006 of the Probate Code) and to the decedent’s interest in the described property, and no other person has a superior right to the interest of the decedent in the described property.”
(10) “The affiant declares under penalty of perjury under the laws of the State of California that the foregoing is true and correct.”
(b) For each person executing the affidavit, the affidavit shall contain a notary public’s certificate of acknowledgment identifying the person.
(c) An inventory and appraisal of the decedent’s real property in this state, excluding the real property described in Section 13050, shall be attached to the affidavit. The inventory and appraisal of the real property shall be made as provided in Part 3 (commencing with Section 8800) of Division 7. The appraisal shall be made by a probate referee selected by the affiant from those probate referees appointed by the Controller under Section 400 to appraise property in the county where the real property is located.
(d) If the affiant claims under the decedent’s will and no estate proceeding is pending or has been conducted in California, a copy of the will shall be attached to the affidavit.
(e) A certified copy of the decedent’s death certificate shall be attached to the affidavit. If the decedent’s personal representative has consented to the use of the procedure provided by this chapter, a copy of the consent and of the personal representative’s letters shall be attached to the affidavit.
(f) If the decedent dies on or after April 1, 2022, the list of adjusted dollar amounts, published in accordance with subdivision (c) of Section 890, in effect on the date of the decedent’s death shall be attached to the affidavit.
(g) The affiant shall deliver pursuant to Section 1215 a copy of the affidavit and attachments to any person identified in paragraph (4) of subdivision (a).
(h) (1) When the decedent dies prior to April 1, 2022, the dollar amount for paragraph (5) of subdivision (a) is fifty-five thousand four hundred twenty-five dollars ($55,425).
(2) When the decedent dies on or after April 1, 2022, the dollar amount for paragraph (5) of subdivision (a) is the adjusted dollar amount, published in accordance with subdivision (c) of Section 890, in effect on the date of the decedent’s death.

SEC. 14.

 Section 13206 of the Probate Code is amended to read:

13206.
 (a) Subject to subdivisions (b), (c), (d), and (e), if proceedings for the administration of the decedent’s estate are commenced, or if the decedent’s personal representative has consented to use of the procedure provided by this chapter and the personal representative later requests that the property be restored to the estate, each person who is designated as a successor of the decedent in a certified copy of an affidavit issued under Section 13202 is liable for:
(1) The restitution to the decedent’s estate of the property the person took under the certified copy of the affidavit if the person still has the property, together with (A) the net income the person received from the property and (B) if the person encumbered the property after the certified copy of the affidavit was issued, the amount necessary to satisfy the balance of the encumbrance as of the date the property is restored to the estate.
(2) The restitution to the decedent’s estate of the fair market value of the property if the person no longer has the property, together with (A) the net income the person received from the property prior to disposing of it and (B) interest from the date of disposition at the rate of 7 percent per annum on the fair market value of the property. For the purposes of this paragraph, the “fair market value of the property” is the fair market value, determined as of the time of the disposition of the property, of the property the person took under the certified copy of the affidavit, less the amount of any liens and encumbrances on the property at the time the certified copy of the affidavit was issued.
(b) Subject to subdivision (d), if the person fraudulently executed or filed the affidavit under this chapter, the person is liable under this section for restitution to the decedent’s estate of three times the fair market value of the property. For the purposes of this subdivision, the “fair market value of the property” is the fair market value, determined as of the time the certified copy of the affidavit was issued, of the property the person took under the certified copy of the affidavit, less the amount of any liens and encumbrances on the property at that time.
(c) Subject to subdivision (d), if proceedings for the administration of the decedent’s estate are commenced and a person designated as a successor of the decedent in a certified copy of an affidavit issued under Section 13202 made a significant improvement to the property taken by the person under the certified copy of the affidavit in the good faith belief that the person was the successor of the decedent to that property, the person is liable for whichever of the following the decedent’s estate elects:
(1) The restitution of the property, as improved, to the estate of the decedent upon the condition that the estate reimburse the person making restitution for (A) the amount by which the improvement increases the fair market value of the property restored, determined as of the time of restitution, and (B) the amount paid by the person for principal and interest on any liens or encumbrances that were on the property at the time the certified copy of the affidavit was issued.
(2) The restoration to the decedent’s estate of the fair market value of the property, determined as of the time of the issuance of the certified copy of the affidavit under Section 13202, less the amount of any liens and encumbrances on the property at that time, together with interest on the net amount at the rate of 7 percent per annum running from the date of the issuance of the certified copy of the affidavit.
(d) The property and amount required to be restored to the estate under this section shall be reduced by any property or amount paid by the person to satisfy a liability under Section 13204 or 13205.
(e) An action to enforce the liability under this section may be brought only by the personal representative of the estate of the decedent. Whether or not the personal representative brings an action under this section, the personal representative may enforce the liability only to the extent necessary to protect the interests of the heirs, devisees, and creditors of the decedent.
(f) An action to enforce the liability under this section is forever barred three years after the certified copy of the affidavit is issued under Section 13202, or three years after the discovery of the fraud, whichever is later. The three-year period specified in this subdivision is not tolled for any reason.

SEC. 15.

 Section 13207 of the Probate Code is amended to read:

13207.
 (a) A person designated as a successor of the decedent in a certified copy of an affidavit issued under Section 13202 is not liable under Section 13204 or 13205 if proceedings for the administration of the decedent’s estate are commenced, or if the decedent’s personal representative has consented to use of the procedure provided by this chapter and the personal representative later requests that the property be restored to the estate, and the person satisfies the requirements of Section 13206.
(b) Except as provided in subdivision (b) of Section 13205, the aggregate of the personal liability of a person under Sections 13204 and 13205 shall not exceed the sum of the following:
(1) The fair market value at the time of the issuance of the certified copy of the affidavit under Section 13202 of the decedent’s property received by that person under this chapter, less the amount of any liens and encumbrances on the property at that time.
(2) The net income the person received from the property.
(3) If the property has been disposed of, interest on the fair market value of the property from the date of disposition at the rate of 7 percent per annum. For the purposes of this paragraph, “fair market value of the property” has the same meaning as defined in paragraph (2) of subdivision (a) of Section 13206.

SEC. 16.

 Section 13211 is added to the Probate Code, to read:

13211.
 If the court finds that a person designated as a successor of the decedent in a certified copy of an affidavit issued under Section 13202 has acted reasonably and in good faith under the circumstances as known to the person, the court may, in its discretion, excuse the person from liability to pay interest, in whole or in part, under paragraph (2) of subdivision (a) of Section 13206, paragraph (2) of subdivision (c) of Section 13206, or paragraph (3) of subdivision (b) of Section 13207, if it would be equitable to do so.

SEC. 17.

 Section 13562 of the Probate Code is amended to read:

13562.
 (a) Subject to subdivisions (b), (c), and (d), if proceedings for the administration of the decedent’s estate are commenced, the surviving spouse is liable for:
(1) The restitution to the decedent’s estate of the decedent’s property if the surviving spouse still has the decedent’s property, together with (A) the net income the surviving spouse received from the decedent’s property and (B) if the surviving spouse encumbered the decedent’s property after the date of death, the amount necessary to satisfy the balance of the encumbrance as of the date the decedent’s property is restored to the estate.
(2) The restitution to the decedent’s estate of the fair market value of the decedent’s property if the surviving spouse no longer has the decedent’s property, together with (A) the net income the surviving spouse received from the decedent’s property prior to disposing of it and (B) interest from the date of disposition at the rate of 7 percent per annum on the fair market value of the decedent’s property. For the purposes of this paragraph, the “fair market value of the decedent’s property” is the fair market value of the decedent’s property, determined as of the time of the disposition of the decedent’s property, less the amount of any liens and encumbrances on the decedent’s property at the time of the decedent’s death.
(b) Subject to subdivision (c), if proceedings for the administration of the decedent’s estate are commenced and the surviving spouse made a significant improvement to the decedent’s property in the good faith belief that the surviving spouse was the successor of the decedent to the decedent’s property, the surviving spouse is liable for whichever of the following the decedent’s estate elects:
(1) The restitution of the decedent’s property, as improved, to the estate of the decedent upon the condition that the estate reimburse the surviving spouse for (A) the amount by which the improvement increases the fair market value of the decedent’s property restored, valued as of the time of restitution, and (B) the amount paid by the surviving spouse for principal and interest on any liens or encumbrances that were on the decedent’s property at the time of the decedent’s death.
(2) The restoration to the decedent’s estate of the fair market value of the decedent’s property, valued as of the time of the decedent’s death, excluding the amount of any liens and encumbrances on the decedent’s property at that time, together with interest on the net amount at the rate of 7 percent per annum running from the date of the decedent’s death.
(c) The property and amount required to be restored to the estate under this section shall be reduced by any property or amount paid by the surviving spouse to satisfy a liability under Chapter 3 (commencing with Section 13550).
(d) An action to enforce the liability under this section may be brought only by the personal representative of the estate of the decedent. Whether or not the personal representative brings an action under this section, the personal representative may enforce the liability only to the extent necessary to protect the interests of the heirs, devisees, and creditors of the decedent.
(e) An action to enforce the liability under this section is forever barred three years after the death of the decedent. The three-year period specified in this subdivision is not tolled for any reason.

SEC. 18.

 Section 13563 of the Probate Code is amended to read:

13563.
 (a) The surviving spouse is not liable under Section 13561 if proceedings for the administration of the decedent’s estate are commenced and the surviving spouse satisfies the requirements of Section 13562.
(b) The aggregate of the personal liability of the surviving spouse under Section 13561 shall not exceed the sum of the following:
(1) The fair market value at the time of the decedent’s death, less the amount of any liens and encumbrances on the decedent’s property at that time, of the portion of the decedent’s property that passes to any person having a superior right by testate succession from the decedent.
(2) The net income the surviving spouse received from the portion of the decedent’s property that passes to any person having a superior right by testate succession from the decedent.
(3) If the decedent’s property has been disposed of, interest on the fair market value of the portion of the decedent’s property that passes to any person having a superior right by testate succession from the decedent from the date of disposition at the rate of 7 percent per annum. For the purposes of this paragraph, “fair market value” is fair market value, determined as of the time of disposition of the decedent’s property, less the amount of any liens and encumbrances on the decedent’s property at the time of the decedent’s death.

SEC. 19.

 Section 13565 is added to the Probate Code, to read:

13565.
 If the court finds that the surviving spouse has acted reasonably and in good faith under the circumstances as known to the surviving spouse, the court may, in its discretion, excuse the surviving spouse from liability to pay interest, in whole or in part, under paragraph (2) of subdivision (a) of Section 13562, paragraph (2) of subdivision (b) of Section 13562, or paragraph (3) of subdivision (b) of Section 13563, if it would be equitable to do so.

SEC. 20.

 Section 13600 of the Probate Code is amended to read:

13600.
 (a) At any time after a spouse dies, the surviving spouse or the guardian or conservator of the estate of the surviving spouse may, without procuring letters of administration or awaiting probate of the will, collect salary or other compensation owed by an employer for personal services of the deceased spouse, including compensation for unused vacation, not in excess of sixteen thousand six hundred twenty-five dollars ($16,625), as adjusted periodically in accordance with Section 890, net.
(b) Not more than sixteen thousand six hundred twenty-five dollars ($16,625), as adjusted periodically in accordance with Section 890, net in the aggregate may be collected by or for the surviving spouse under this chapter from all of the employers of the decedent.
(c) For the purposes of this chapter, a guardian or conservator of the estate of the surviving spouse may act on behalf of the surviving spouse without authorization or approval of the court in which the guardianship or conservatorship proceeding is pending.
(d) The dollar limit set forth in subdivisions (a) and (b) does not apply to the surviving spouse or the guardian or conservator of the estate of the surviving spouse of a firefighter or peace officer described in subdivision (a) of Section 22820 of the Government Code.

SEC. 21.

 Section 13601 of the Probate Code is amended to read:

13601.
 (a) To collect salary or other compensation under this chapter, an affidavit or a declaration under penalty of perjury under the laws of this state shall be furnished to the employer of the deceased spouse stating all of the following:
(1) The name of the decedent.
(2) The date and place of the decedent’s death.
(3) Either of the following, as appropriate:
(A) “The affiant or declarant is the surviving spouse of the decedent.”
(B) “The affiant or declarant is the guardian or conservator of the estate of the surviving spouse of the decedent.”
(4) “The surviving spouse of the decedent is entitled to the earnings of the decedent under the decedent’s will or by intestate succession and no one else has a superior right to the earnings.”
(5) “No proceeding is now being or has been conducted in California for administration of the decedent’s estate.”
(6) “Sections 13600 to 13605, inclusive, of the California Probate Code require that the earnings of the decedent, including compensation for unused vacation, not in excess of [Insert dollar amount specified in subdivision (e) of Section 13601 of the California Probate Code] net, be paid promptly to the affiant or declarant.”
(7) “Neither the surviving spouse, nor anyone acting on behalf of the surviving spouse, has a pending request to collect compensation owed by another employer for personal services of the decedent under Sections 13600 to 13605, inclusive, of the California Probate Code.”
(8) “Neither the surviving spouse, nor anyone acting on behalf of the surviving spouse, has collected any compensation owed by an employer for personal services of the decedent under Sections 13600 to 13605, inclusive, of the California Probate Code except the sum of ____ dollars ($____) that was collected from ____.”
(9) “The affiant or declarant requests that the affiant or declarant be paid the salary or other compensation owed by you for personal services of the decedent, including compensation for unused vacation, not to exceed [Insert dollar amount specified in subdivision (e) of Section 13601 of the California Probate Code] net, less the amount of ____ dollars ($____) that was previously collected.”
(10) “The affiant or declarant affirms or declares under penalty of perjury under the laws of the State of California that the foregoing is true and correct.”
(b) Where the decedent is a firefighter or peace officer described in subdivision (a) of Section 22820 of the Government Code, the affidavit or declaration need not include the content specified in paragraphs (6) to (9), inclusive, of subdivision (a). The affidavit shall instead include the following statements:
(1) “The decedent was a firefighter or peace officer described in subdivision (a) of Section 22820 of the Government Code. Sections 13600 to 13605, inclusive, of the California Probate Code require that the earnings of the decedent, including compensation for unused vacation, be paid promptly to the affiant or declarant.”
(2) “The affiant or declarant requests to be paid the salary or other compensation owed by you for personal services of the decedent, including compensation for unused vacation.”
(c) Reasonable proof of the identity of the surviving spouse shall be provided to the employer. If a guardian or conservator is acting for the surviving spouse, reasonable proof of the identity of the guardian or conservator shall also be provided to the employer. Proof of identity that is sufficient under Section 13104 is sufficient proof of identity for the purposes of this subdivision.
(d) If a person presenting the affidavit or declaration is a person claiming to be the guardian or conservator of the estate of the surviving spouse, the employer shall be provided with reasonable proof, satisfactory to the employer, of the appointment of the person to act as guardian or conservator of the estate of the surviving spouse.
(e) (1) When the decedent dies prior to April 1, 2022, the dollar amount for paragraphs (6) and (9) of subdivision (a) is sixteen thousand six hundred twenty-five dollars ($16,625).
(2) When the decedent dies on or after April 1, 2022, the dollar amount for paragraphs (6) and (9) of subdivision (a) is the adjusted dollar amount, published in accordance with subdivision (c) of Section 890, in effect on the date of the decedent’s death. The affiant or declarant shall attach the list of adjusted dollar amounts, published in accordance with subdivision (c) of Section 890, in effect on the date of the decedent’s death to the affidavit or declaration.

SEC. 22.

 Section 13602 of the Probate Code is amended to read:

13602.
 If the requirements of Section 13600 are satisfied, the employer to whom the affidavit or declaration is presented shall promptly pay the earnings of the decedent, including compensation for unused vacation, as provided in Section 13600, to the person presenting the affidavit or declaration.