Small Estate Affidavit Form

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Updated August 03, 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 where the decedent died.

2. Calculate the Estate’s Value

person using calculator to determine estate 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).

3. Gather 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 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.

6. File with the Probate Office

petitioner submitting small estate affidavit to clerk at 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.

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: ___________________________

How to Write

Download: Adobe PDF, MS Word, OpenDocument

Location Of Signing

(1) Location. In many cases, the Notary Public will wish to dispense the County and the State where this petition is executed by its Affiant on the first two lines available. If a Notary has been consulted and directed this area to be completed beforehand, then produce the County where this document is executed on the first line as well as the appropriate State to the second line.

I. The Decedent

(2) Petition Effective Date. This petition must have a specific start date to its effect. Thus, locate the formatted area presented by the initial paragraph of the First Article, then supply the first calendar date when this paperwork should be considered an active petition.

(3) Decedent. The Party who has passed away and whose estate is the concern of this petition should be identified with his or her full name on the first space of the “Decedent” statement of the First Article.

(4) Formal Date Of Death. The calendar date noted on the death certificate as the day the Decedent passed away must be submitted across the lines following the term “Died On…”

(5) County Of Decedent Passing. The First Article also requires that the name of the County where the Decedent passed away is presented on the first line available after the phrase “County Of.”

(6) State Of Decedent Death. Finally, locate the State presented on the Decedent’s death certificate as the State where he or she died then use the space provided after the phrase “State Of” to formally identify which State the Deceased passed away in.

II. The Affiant

(7) Affiant. The Petitioner issuing this affidavit must be identified with his or her legal name on the first line presented by the Second Article. The Petitioner for control of the Decedent’s estate (through this paperwork) will often be referred to as the Affiant.

(8) Affiant Mailing Address. The second line found in the Second Article should be populated with the complete address where the Affiant receives his or her official paper correspondence such as notices, court requests, and other such legal documents. This must be the mailing address that is under the control of and regularly monitored by the Affiant.

III. Days After Death

(9) Waiting Requirement. Often there will be a period of time that starts from the day of the Decedent’s death during which no Affiant may execute a petition for control over the estate of the concerned Deceased. Supply the number of days between the date of the Decedent and the effective date of this petition to the space presented in the Third Article. Be advised this number of days may not be less than that required by the State that governs this petition and the estate of the Deceased.

IV. Statutory Amount

(10) Monetary Limit For Small Estate Status. Every State places a monetary limit to how much an estate may be worth in order to be considered a small estate. Consult the books, then furnish the maximum dollar amount the estate may be worth and still be classified as a small estate on the blank line attached to the dollar sign ($) in Article IV.

(11) State Of Applicable Law. Submit the name of the State whose laws will define the maximum dollar amount allowed for the value of a small estate on the second blank line in Article IV.

V. Property And Assets

(12) Description Of Decedent Property. The assets making up the Decedent’s estate will need to be defined in the left column of Article V. Each asset or piece of property that is a part of the estate should be listed separately in this section. Make sure to provide a description that will adequately identify a reported asset so that it may be located. For instance, if an intangible asset such as a bank account must be defined, record the name of the Bank, the contact information for that bank, the Decedent’s bank account number, and the type of account.

(13) Value Of Decedent Property. Every asset and piece of property listed in the left column in Article V must be accompanied by a record of its “Value” in the second column. For example, if a bank account of the Decedent was listed in the first column, then provide the dollar amount kept in that bank account in the second column.

VI. Debts And Liabilities

(14) Decedent Held Debts. An estate’s value will depend not only on the assets and property owned by the Decedent but also on the amount of money that will be deducted (from the concerned estate) to pay for the debts or liabilities that were owed by the Decedent at the time of his or her passing. Each such debt should be listed in the “Description” column of Article V. This should include a record of the name of the Party or Entity that must be paid and the reason behind the debt. For instance, if the debt is a loan amount (owed by the Decedent), report the name of the Financial Institution holding that loan, the reason for that loan, and any account number needed to identify the concerned account.

(15) Amount Owed By Decedent. Once a debt (or liability) that is owed by the estate has been documented, present the exact dollar amount the Decedent must pay in the space provided by the “Value” column displayed in the Sixth Article.

VII. The Heirs

(16) Heir’s Name. Every Party that is entitled to assets, property, or a dollar amount from the Decedent’s estate should be named in Article VII. Three sections have been provided, each with a line labeled “Heir’s Name,” so that this task may be fulfilled. There is enough room for three Heirs to be identified but more may be added at will. If this petition must name more than three Heirs, then insert additional sections as needed or provide the information requested by these sections in Article VII on an attachment that is permanently affixed to this petition.

(17) Relation To Decedent. The “Relationship” each Heir named held with the Decedent should be described on the line adjacent to his or her name.

(18) Address Of Heir. The home address of each Heir is required by Article VII where it is requested.

(19) Immediate Contact Information. After identifying each of the Heirs, defining how he or she is related to the Decedent, and dispensing each Heir’s home address, Article VII will request the “Phone” number of each Heir along with his or her “E-Mail” address.

VIII. Transfer Of Property

(20) Estate Property. Now that the Decedent’s estate has been detailed and each of his or her Heirs identified, it will be time to document every piece of property or asset that must be transferred to the proper Heir in the “Property” section of Article VIII.

(21) Heir’s Name. The full name of each Heir who must be set to receive the defined asset(s), property, or dollar amount must be presented in the second column (titled “Heir’s Name” in Article VIII). This will assign the “Property” listed to the appropriate Heir.

IX. Official Statement

(22) Government Law. Document the name of the State where this affidavit will be submitted and whose laws must be complied with on the blank space in Statement (C) of Article IX.

X. Execution

(23) Affiant’s Signature. The signature required by the Affiant must be produced before a Notary Public and (in most cases) one to two Witnesses. Once these Parties have coordinated and gathered, the Affiant must sign his or her name on the line “Affiant’s Signature.”

(24) Formal Date Of Signature. The calendar date when the Affiant signs this paperwork should be submitted with his or her signature on the line “Date.”

(25) Affiant Printed Name. The Affiant is also expected to print his or her full name on the line “Print Name.”

Notary Acknowledgment

(26) Statement Made By Notary. The “Notary Acknowledgment” section, provided for the use of the Notary Public overseeing the Affiant signature, can only be completed by the concerned Notary. The location of the Affiant signing, the date of signing, the attending Notary’s name, along with the name of the Signature Affiant will all be documented by the Notary Public. Additionally, as proof that the notarization defined by this section is complete, the Notary will sign his or her name, print it, and supply his or her seal.

Witness Acknowledgment

(27) Witness 1 Statement. Two Witnesses should watch the Affiant sign the petition above, then confirm this observation through his or her acknowledgment statement. Before the First Witness can provide the signature verification required for this task, the “Witness 1” section must be supplied with the full name of Witness 1 on the blank space presented in the acknowledgment statement.

(28) Witness’s Signature. Witness 1 must review the (completed) “Witness 1” statement, then sign his or her name, submit the date when he or she signed this testimonial, and present his or her name in print.

(29) Witness 2 Statement. The name of the Second Witness will be required on the blank line in the statement made by the “Witness 2” section.

(30) Witness Signature. To confirm the statement in the “Witness 2” section, Witness 2 must review its content, sign the “Witness’s Signature” line, document the calendar date of his or her signing, then document his or her printed name.

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