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Small Estate Affidavit
A Small Estate Affidavit is a legal document that contains a sworn statement allowing someone to legally claim the assets of someone who has died.
Small Estate Affidavits are used to avoid what’s known as the probate process, which can be lengthy and costly.
An estate is only considered “small” if the deceased’s assets are valued below a certain amount, differing from state to state.
In addition, some states only allow the use of a Small Estate Affidavit if the person died without a will, so be sure you check your state’s requirements below before you begin creating your affidavit.
How a Small Estate Affidavit Works
Wait for the State-Required Time Period
Every state requires that the family members wait a specified number of days before the small estate may be filed.
Ranging from 15 to 60 days, the heirs can use this time to gather an itemized list of the decedent’s assets and property.
If the state does not have specific laws, then contact the probate court in the jurisdiction where the decedent died.
Calculate the Estate’s Value
Obtain an itemized list of the decedent’s properties and assets, as well as any existing liens or debts.
Gather the Required Documents
The death certificate must be obtained (contact the Bureau of Vital Statistics or equivalent office) along with the title of all property owned by the decedent.
For example, if a vehicle was owned by the decedent, the Certificate of Title will be required.
Complete the Small Estate Affidavit
It is best to use the state-specKific version as this will give the petitioner the best chance of it being accepted by the probate court clerk’s office.
When completing, be sure to include an itemized list of all the assets and property of the decedent that will be transferred to the heirs.
When signing, the petitioner will be required to either sign the form in front of a notary public, witnesses, or both. The bottom of the small estate should have the signing requirements listed.
Contact Family Members (Heirs)
All heirs, family members, or anyone who could be considered entitled to the property must be made aware of the small estate filing. Therefore, the petitioner must contact them via certified mail with a return receipt and keep the receipts as proof that the individuals have been notified.
File with the Probate Office
The petitioner should attach all documents to the small estate affidavit along with the filing fee.
If accepted, the clerk will take approximately five to 15 days to process and accept or reject the filing.
If accepted, the property and assets will be transferred and the process is complete.
Probate is a legal procedure intended to make sure the bills of a deceased individual (“decedent”) have been paid, and the people entitled to inherit their assets — whether by will (“testate”) or without a last will and testament (“intestate”) — receive those assets.
The probate procedure can be time-consuming and involves expenses for the court and the executor of the estate.
These costs are deducted from the decedent’s assets, reducing what’s available to give to surviving heirs.
It’s important to know exactly what probate is, and how the entire process affects small estates.
Those with larger estates typically use a revocable living trust to manage their sizable assets.
Are small estates the same across the country?
No, state law varies on what qualifies as a “small estate.”
The total amount of the deceased’s assets and the property being distributed must not exceed around $5,000 – $175,000.
Sometimes, items (such as real estate or “real property”) aren’t included in that calculation, which is determined on a state-by-state basis.
To streamline the probate procedure and reduce the costs for estates that don’t exceed the threshold, each state has guidelines for processing a “small estate” with less court involvement, time, and money. A Small Estate Affidavit form may be used in those situations.
|State||Maximum Amounts ($)||Time to Wait After Decedent’s Death||Signing Requirements|
|Alabama||$32,047 (figure adjusted for inflation)||30 days||No Statute*|
|Alaska||$100,000 for vehicles only; $50,000 for other personal property||30 days||No Statute*|
|Arizona||$75,000 for tangible personal property; $100,000 for real property||30 days||No Statute*|
|Arkansas||$100,000||45 days||Local Probate Court Clerk (See List)|
|California||$184,500||40 days||Notary Public|
|Colorado||$70,000||10 days||Notary Public|
|Connecticut||$40,000||No Statute||No Statute|
|Delaware||$30,000||30 days||No Statute, but Death Certificate must be notarized|
|Florida||$75,000||No Statute||No Statute*|
|Georgia||None; $15,000 only when claiming funds in a bank account||No Statute||Notary Public|
|Hawaii||$100,000 (excluding motor vehicles)||No Statute||Notary Public|
|Idaho||$100,000||30 days||Notary Public|
|Illinois||$100,000||No Statute||Notary Public|
|Indiana||$100,000||45 days||Notary Public|
|Iowa||$50,000||40 days||Notary Public|
|Kansas||$40,000||No Statute||Notary Public|
|Kentucky||$30,000||No Statute||Notary Public or Judge/Clerk of the District Court|
|Louisiana||$125,000||90 Days (For Immovable Property Only)||Notary Public|
|Maine||$40,000||30 days||Notary Public|
|Maryland||$50,000; $100,000 for surviving spouses filing as sole legatee||No Statute||No Statute|
|Massachusetts||$25,000 (excluding the value of one vehicle)||30 days||Notary Public|
|Michigan||$24,000 (figure adjusted for inflation)||28 days||Notary Public|
|Minnesota||$75,000||30 days||Notary Public|
|Mississippi||$75,000||30 days||Notary Public|
|Missouri||$40,000||30 days||Notary Public|
|Montana||$50,000||30 days||Notary Public|
|Nebraska||$50,000||30 days||Notary Public|
|Nevada||$100,000 for spouse; $25,000 for other claimants||40 days||No Statute*|
|New Jersey||$50,000 for spouses, $20,000 for non-spousal heirs||No Statute||Notary Public|
|New Mexico||$50,000||30 days||Notary Public|
|New York||$50,000||No Statute||Notary Public|
|North Carolina||$20,000 non-spousal heirs; $30,000 for surviving spouses who are sole heirs||30 days||Notary Public or Court Clerk|
|North Dakota||$50,000||30 days||Notary Public or Court Clerk|
|Ohio||$100,000 for spouse, $35,000 for other claimants||No Statute||Probate Judge (once approved)|
|Oklahoma||$50,000||10 days||Notary Public|
|Oregon||$275,000 ($75,000 for personal property; $200,000 for real property)||30 days||Notary Public|
|Pennsylvania||$50,000||No Statute||Notary Public andPA Register of Wills Deputy|
|Rhode Island||$15,000||30 days||Notary Public and|
Probate Judge / Probate Clerk
|South Carolina||$25,000||30 days||Notary Public andProbate Judge|
|South Dakota||$100,000 for personal property; $50,000 for real property||30 days||Notary Public|
|Tennessee||$50,000||45 days||Notary Public or Deputy Clerk|
|Texas||$75,000||30 days||Notary Public and Two (2) Disinterested Witnesses|
|Utah||$100,000||30 days||Notary Public|
|Vermont||$45,000||No Statute||Notary Public|
|Virginia||$50,000||60 days||Notary Public|
|Washington||$100,000||40 days||Notary Public|
|Washington D.C.||$40,000||No Statute||Legal Branch of Probate Division|
|West Virginia||$100,000 for interests in real estate; $50,000 for personal property||30 days (if decedent died testate); 60 days (if intestate)||Notary Public|
|Wisconsin||$50,000||No Statute||Notary Public|
|Wyoming||$200,000||30 days||Notary Public|
|No. of Pages||4|
|PDF Size||1 MB|
Form Of Small Estate Affidavit PDF Free Download