Small Estate Affidavit Form

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Updated October 27, 2022

A small estate affidavit allows the heirs of an estate to bypass the probate process and take immediate possession of the property. To qualify, the total value of the estate must be less than the statutory requirement, and the heirs must wait the required period after the decedent’s death.

Table of Contents

By State

State Requirements

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 Hampshire N/A N/A N/A
 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 and

PA 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 and

Probate 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

 

* The person creating the affidavit is highly recommended to seek notarization in order to establish the document’s validity and prepare it for recording with their local governing entity.

How a Small Estate Affidavit Works (6 steps)

  1. Wait for the State-Required Time Period
  2. Calculate the Estate’s Value
  3. Gather Required Documents
  4. Complete the Small Estate Affidavit
  5. Contact Family Members (Heirs)
  6. File with the Probate Office

1. Wait for the State-Required Time Period

person looking at calendar

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.

2. Calculate the Estate’s Value

person using calculator to determine estate value

Obtain an itemized list of the decedent’s properties and assets, as well as any existing liens or debts.

3. Gather the Required Documents

person acquiring death certificate at vital statistics office

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.

4. Complete the Small Estate Affidavit

person filling out small estate affidavit form on laptop

It is best to use the state-specific 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.

5. Contact Family Members (Heirs)

person handing USPS certified mail envelope to postal worker

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.

6. File with the Probate Office

petitioner submitting small estate affidavit to clerk at 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.

Affidavit of Heirship vs. Small Estate Affidavit

Affidavit of Heirship – Identifies the heirs to a decedent’s estate.

Small Estate Affidavit – Identifies the assets and debts of a decedent’s estate. The affidavit will include the names of the heirs if the affidavit of heirship is included in the form.

Sample

SMALL ESTATE AFFIDAVIT

AFFIDAVIT FOR THE COLLECTION OF PROPERTY

County of [COUNTY] )
State of [STATE] ) ss.

1. THE DECEDENT. This Small Estate Affidavit (“Affidavit”) made on [DATE], acts as a petition regarding the estate of:

Decedent: [DECEDENT’S NAME] who died on [DATE] in the county of [COUNTY], [STATE] (“Decedent”).

A copy of the Decedent’s death certificate shall be submitted along with this Affidavit.

2. THE AFFIANT. The person preparing this Affidavit is [AFFIANT’S NAME] with a mailing address of [MAILING ADDRESS] (“Affiant”).

3. DAYS AFTER DEATH. The Decedent died on the Date mentioned in Section 1, which is more than the statutory limit of [#] days required to file this Affidavit.

4. STATUTORY AMOUNT. The estimated value of the Decedent’s estate does not exceed the monetary limit of $[AMOUNT] imposed by the state of [STATE].

5. PROPERTY AND ASSETS. The property and assets of the Decedent’s estate are as follows:

Description                                                   Value ($)

[DESCRIBE]                                                   $[AMOUNT]
[DESCRIBE]                                                   $[AMOUNT]
[DESCRIBE]                                                   $[AMOUNT]

6. DEBTS AND LIABILITIES. The debts and liabilities of the Decedent’s estate are as follows:

Description                                                    Value ($)

[DESCRIBE]                                                   $[AMOUNT]
[DESCRIBE]                                                   $[AMOUNT]
[DESCRIBE]                                                   $[AMOUNT]

7. THE HEIRS. All heirs, devisees, or possible beneficiaries of the Decedent are listed below:


Heir’s Name: [NAME] Relationship: [DESCRIBE]
Address: [ADDRESS]
Phone: [PHONE] E-Mail: [E-MAIL]


Heir’s Name: [NAME] Relationship: [DESCRIBE]
Address: [ADDRESS]
Phone: [PHONE] E-Mail: [E-MAIL]


Heir’s Name: [NAME] Relationship: [DESCRIBE]
Address: [ADDRESS]
Phone: [PHONE] E-Mail: [E-MAIL]


Hereinafter known as the “Heirs” and shall be given notice of this Affidavit within 30 days of filing with the court.

8. TRANSFER OF PROPERTY. The following Heirs are entitled to the following property:

Property                                                        Heir’s Name

[DESCRIBE]                                                   [FULL NAME]
[DESCRIBE]                                                   [FULL NAME]
[DESCRIBE]                                                   [FULL NAME]

9. OFFICIAL STATEMENT. I, the Decedent, declare under penalty of perjury under the laws of the state of Governing Law that the information I have provided in this Affidavit are true and correct.

a.) Pending Administration. There is no pending administration of the Decedent’s estate.
b.) Probate. There is no reasonable expectation that probate of the Decedent’s estate is soon or ever shall commence.
c.) Governing Law. This Affidavit is governed under the laws located in the state of [GOVERNING LAW].

10. EXECUTION. This Affidavit is required to be signed under the requirements of state law which may require a notary public, two (2) disinterested witnesses, or both.

 

Affiant’s Signature: ___________________________ Date: _______________

Print Name: ___________________________