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California Law Revision Commission

-- Last revised 4/16/19 --

Nonprobate Transfers: Creditor Claims and Family Protections - Study L-4100

    The dominant trend in estate planning and administration over the past half century has been the rise of the nonprobate transfer. A nonprobate transfer is a transfer of property that occurs on the death of the decedent and that passes property to a beneficiary outside of regular probate channels. While the probate process provides well-developed procedures for the payment of a decedent's creditors and for support of a decedent's dependents, those procedures do not apply if the decedent's estate passes entirely outside of probate. The law governing nonprobate transfers does not comprehensively address those concerns.
    The Commission's former executive secretary, Nathaniel Sterling, has prepared a comprehensive background study of the treatment of creditor claims and family protections, with respect to property passing outside of probate. The study discusses existing California law and the law of other jurisdictions. It concludes with recommendations for reform.
    The Commission is conducting a study of the issues discussed in the background study. If you have questions or comments on this study, send an e-mail to Kristin Burford at

Related Material

Tentative Recommendations and Other Requests for Comment

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Meeting Minutes

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Staff Memoranda

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Background Study

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