Small Estate Affidavit Form

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Updated May 20, 2022

A small estate affidavit, or affidavit for collection of personal property, allows the rightful heir(s) to claim some of the contents of an estate more quickly than other avenues. A small estate affidavit allows the estate to bypass the probate process which involves going to court to figure out who gets what.

If no one objects to the small estate filing, then the filing party will receive the assets and property of the estate, less any debts owed by the person who died (decedent).

State Requirements – There is a monetary limit ($) to the estate and a minimum number (#) of days after the decedent has died before a small estate can be filed.

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 $50,000 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 $50,000 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)

Step 1 – 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 where the decedent died.

Step 2 – Calculate the Estate’s Value

A small estate affidavit is for individuals that have died who did not own enough property or assets to qualify for probate under State laws (less any liens and encumbrances).

Step 3 – Gather 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.

Step 4 – Complete the Small Estate Affidavit

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.

Step 5 – Contact Family Members (Heirs)

All heirs, family members, or anyone that 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 Return Receipt and keep the receipts as proof the individuals have been notified.

Step 6 – File with the Probate Office

Attached to the small estate affidavit, the petitioner should have all their documents together with the filing fee. If accepted, the clerk will take approximately 5 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.

Small Estate Affidavit vs Affidavit of Heirship

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.

How to Write

Download: Adobe PDF, MS Word, OpenDocument

Affidavit Introduction

(1) Decedent Name. The subject of this document, the Deceased, must be identified as such. Supply his or her full name to the declaration statement.

(2) Decedent Location. The name of the State and the County where the Decedent passed away should be named.

Section I. Decedent Information

(3) Decedent Name. The first item must also be presented with the full name of the Decedent. Produce his or her name, making sure it matches the name displayed on his or her death certificate.

(4) Date Of Death. The calendar date on the Decedent’s death certificate marking the day he or she passed away will aid in identifying the Decedent. Record this date where it is requested.

(5) Location Of Death. The State and the County reported on the Decedent’s death certificate must be transcribed to this document.

Section III. Petitioner Identity

(6) Affiant Name. You must identify yourself as the Devisee or the Survivor making a petition for the Decedent’s assets.

Section IV. Affiant Location

(7) Affiant Address. Furnish your physical street address, city, and state as a means to further identify yourself in this document.

Section VI. State Qualification

(8) Estate Value. The State governing the Decedent’s estate and the eligibility of this document will likely have a limit as to how much a small estate may be worth and still qualify as such. Write this dollar value out then present it numerically. This must be the exact limit the State places on how much money a small estate may be worth.

(9) State of Estate. Dispense the name of the State that governs the Decedent’s estate.

Section VIII. Wait Period Qualification

(10) Elapsed Time Since Death. There will usually be a period of time after a Decedent’s calendar date of death that a State’s laws may forbid any legal actions performed or attempted on a Decedent’s estate. To assure the Reviewer that an allowable amount of time has passed between this filing and the Decedent’s death, document the number of days that have passed since the date of death found on his or her death certificate.

Section XI. Heirs

(11) Identity Of Heirs. The Decedent may have Heirs, Survivors, or Devisees. List each one by name. Make sure each one’s identity is supported with the information requested. It is imperative that every Heir of the Decedent is named in this paperwork even if you must continue on an attachment or insert more areas to report additional Heirs.

(12) Relationship. Document how the Heir named in this section is related to the Decedent (i.e. offspring, sibling, parent, etc.)

(13) Address Of Heir. Present the geographical address where the identified Heir can be found.

(14) Phone Number Of Heir. Produce the telephone number where the concerned Heir can be contacted.

Section XIII. Decedent Estate

(15) Assets Of Estate. The owned property of the Decedent must be listed. This can be personal property, real estate property, or even community property (i.e. the Decedent owns an interest in a business). List every such property, owned by the Decedent at the time of his or her death in the left column of Section 13. The remainder of this table will need to be filled out across each row where property is defined as an asset of the Decedent.

(16) Value Of Asset. Dispense the monetary value of the Decedent’s asset.

(17) Additional Information. Any information that aids in identifying the Decedent’s asset or his or her level of ownership over that asset at the time of his or her death can be documented in the third column. Remember to work across each row when discussing an asset.

Section XIV. Decedent Liability

(18) Liability/Debt. The Decedent, in most cases will have some debt or be responsible for payments over certain actions (i.e. tax penalties). Such liabilities and debts must still be paid by the Decedent. List every debt owed by the Decedent in the first column of Section 14. Such a listing may include items such as car loans, credit cards, mortgages, and even personal debts.

(19) Amount Owed. Total the amount owed for each debt then record it on the same row.

(20) Creditor Information. Document the full name and contact information of each Creditor or Entity the Decedent owes payments to.

Section XV. Entitlements

(21) Heir/Devisee. Every Heir or Survivor of the Decedent’s estate that is entitled to any property of the Decedent should be named in the fifteenth Section.

(22) Property. To the right of ever Entitled Survivor or Heir of the Decedent, document the property that Party has a right to claim from the Decedent’s estate. Include any information identifying this property (i.e. if it is a car define the car by make, model, mfg, year, color, and VIN number).

Section XVI. State

(23) State Law. Define the State whose laws apply to the Decedent’s estate and this paperwork.

Affiant Signature

(24) Required Signature. As the Affiant, the originator of this petition, you must sign your full name before either a Notary Public or two Witnesses. This ability largely depends upon the requirements of the State whose courts will oversee this document (if necessary). It is strongly recommended that this paperwork presents a notarized signature of the Affiant regardless of the state’s requirements, therefore gather with the Notary Public and Witnesses who shall watch you execute this petition then sign your name.

(25) Notarization. The Notary Public will complete the area directly beneath your signature with documentation of the date, your identity, and the location of your signing before producing his or her own credentials and signature.

Section XVII. Witness Testimony

Witness I

(26) Statement Preparation. As mentioned earlier, it is strongly recommended that this document is both notarized and witnessed when the Affiant signs it. Therefore, each Witness is supplied with a separate area to review and sign. This area requires some preparation. Produce the name of the Decedent in the declarative statement made in Witness 1’s signature area.

(27) Disinterested Witness 1 Signature Requirements. Both Witnesses must be adults who do not stand to benefit or be harmed by the production of this paperwork. Witness 1 will attest to this as well as the fact that he or she watched you sign this document by signing and printing his or her name.

Witness II

(28) Statement Preparation. Prepare the statement in Witness 2’s area with the full name of the Decedent.

(29) Disinterested Witness 2 Signature Requirements. Witness 2’s signature and the printed name is the only instrument he or she may use to verify the declaration made in his or her signature area and that he or she has physically observed you sign your name.

Attachment A

(30) Section XI Continuation. If there was not enough room in Section XI to list every Heir of the Decedent, then locate Attachment A. Here, the remaining Heirs can be identified by name, relationship, address, and telephone number.

Attachment B

(31) Section XIII Continuation. It will be important to document every asset of the Decedent, therefore if there was not enough room in Section XIII, then continue this inventory in Attachment B.

Attachment C

(32) Section XIV Continuation. Every liability and/or debt held by the Decedent must be listed in Section XIV, however, Attachment C has been provided in case additional room is required to include every debt or liability burdening the Decedent’s estate.

Attachment D

(33) Section XV Continuation. Utilize Attachment D if more space is required to supply a complete list of every Heir entitled to property owned by the Decedent and what that property is.

(Video) What is a Small Estate Affidavit?