Small Estate Affidavit Forms

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A small estate affidavit, or ‘affidavit for collection of personal property‘, allows a rightful heir to claim a person’s estate if they did not make a will. 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 decedent.

State Requirements – There is a monetary limit ($) and 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 $25,000 30 days
 Alaska $100,000 for vehicles, $50,000 for non-vehicles 30 days
 Arizona $75,000 30 days
 Arkansas $100,000 45 days Local Probate/Circuit Court Clerk
 California $166,250 40 days Notary Public
 Colorado $70,000 10 days
 Connecticut $40,000 No Statute
 Delaware $30,000 30 days
 Florida $75,000 No Statute
 Georgia $10,000 No Statute
 Hawaii $100,000 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 $200,000 No Statute
 Kansas $40,000 No Statute Notary Public
 Kentucky $30,000 No Statute

Notary Public

 Louisiana $125,000 No Statute
 Maine $40,000 30 days
 Maryland $100,000 for spouse, $50,000 for descendants No Statute
 Massachusetts $25,000 30 days
 Michigan $15,000, as adjusted by § 700.1210 28 days
 Minnesota $75,000 30 days
 Mississippi $75,000 30 days
 Missouri $40,000 30 days
 Montana $50,000 30 days
 Nebraska $50,000 30 days
 Nevada $100,000 for spouse, $25,000 for other claimants 40 days
 New Hampshire No Statutes No Statutes
 New Jersey $50,000 for spouse, $25,000 for heirs No Statute
 New Mexico $50,000 30 days
 New York $30,000 No Statute
 North Carolina $20,000 30 days
 North Dakota $50,000 30 days
 Ohio $100,000 for spouse, $35,000 for other claimants No Statute
 Oklahoma $50,000 10 days
 Oregon $275,000 ($75,000 for personal property, $200,000 for real property) 30 days
 Pennsylvania $50,000 60 days
 Rhode Island $15,000 30 days
 South Carolina $25,000 30 days
 South Dakota $50,000 30 days
 Tennessee $50,000 45 days
 Texas $75,000 30 days
 Utah $100,000 30 days
 Vermont $45,000 No Statute
 Virginia $50,000 60 days
 Washington $100,000 40 days
 West Virginia $100,000 No Statute
 Wisconsin $50,000 No Statute
 Wyoming $500,000 30 days

How a Small Estate Affidavit Works (6 steps)

Step 1 – Wait 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.

Sample Small Estate Affidavit

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How to Write

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