Delaware Small Estate Affidavit Form

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Updated May 17, 2022

A Delaware small estate affidavit is a legal document that enables an heir or beneficiary of a will to collect property that formerly belonged to a person who has died, known as a decedent. For example, it allows a person to claim ownership from a person’s estate if they have a boat, ATV, or motor vehicle. The affidavit is an alternative to the probate system, and is traditionally a faster way for beneficiaries of the decedent’s will (or heirs if the decedent died intestate) to collect what they are owed.

As the name suggests, the affidavit process is only available for “small estates,” those with a total value below a maximum established by Delaware law.

Laws

  • Days After Death – At least thirty (30) days must have passed since the death of the decedent before the affidavit may be used. (12 Del. C. § 2306(2))
  • Maximum Amount ($) – The total value of the decedent’s estate must be less than $30,000. The estate also cannot include any real estate owned by the decedent, even if the value of the real estate when combined with other assets is less than $30,000. (12 Del. C. § 2306(3))
  • Signing – No Statutes for the affidavit itself, although the death certificate, which is required to be turned in with the affidavit, must be notarized. (12 Del. C. § 2309)
  • Surviving Spouse Allowance – If the decedent had a surviving spouse, the spouse is automatically entitled to up to $7,500 of the estate before an affidavit may be processed. (12 Del. C. §§ 2306, 2308)
  • Statutes Title 12, Chapter 23 (Accounting and Distribution)

How to File (3 steps)

Step 1 – Wait Thirty Days

At least thirty (30) days must pass before completing a Delaware small estate affidavit.

Step 2 – Verify Eligibility

The person who ultimately fills out the affidavit is known as the “affiant.” The affiant should catalog the decedent’s assets to assure that their total value is less than $30,000. This affiant must make sure that there is no pending petition for an appointment of a personal representative. This may be done by consulting the Register of Wills in the county where the decedent resided. Kent County residents, go here; New Castle County residents, go here; Sussex County residents, go here. The register will also be able to provide information about whether the decedent had a will.

Step 3 – Visit an Office, or Request a Form

Although this form may be used as a guide, the actual affidavit is not available electronically, and the process must be completed in coordination with the Register of Wills. Affiants may the register’s office in the county where the decedent lived. Alternatively, affiants may go to their register’s website and request that a form be sent be mail. In either case, applicants will need a notarized death certificate for the decedent. Once completed, the affidavit will be issued to the person that the decedent’s will named as executor of the estate. If the decedent died intestate, the affidavit will be issued to the decedent’s closest living relative.

(Video) Delaware Small Estate Affidavits

How to Write

Download: Adobe PDF

Declaration

(1) Delaware Decedent. It will be important to make sure the facts you have are gathered in one place for easy reference before filing an affidavit. In this case, the death certificate will need to be available and notarized when completing the appropriate paperwork in this state. Transcribe the name of the Delaware Decedent from the death certificate to the initial statement made in this document.

(2) County Of Death. You should be familiar with the Decedent’s death certificate since the information it records will be an integral part of the petitioning process being discussed. Locate the County listed as where the Delaware Decedent passed away on his or her death certificate. Present the name of this County to the declaration statement.

1. Decedent Information

(3) Decedent’s Name. As mentioned earlier several facts regarding the Delaware Decedent’s death will need a presentation. The most common should be gathered and documented in Section 1 beginning with the full name of the Delaware Decedent.

(4) Date Of Delaware Decedent’s Death. Report the notarized death certificate’s date of death for the Delaware Decedent.

(5) County Where Death Occurred. Locate the place of death on the Decedent’s (death) certificate then record it in Section 1.

2. Delaware Affiant Information

(6) Name. The name of the Person who will file the affidavit with the appropriate Delaware County Registrar of Wills must be prepared to identify himself or herself. This Party is known as the Delaware Affiant and must be named in Section 2.

(7) Delaware Affiant’s Residential Address.

8. Waiting Period

(8) Time Since Delaware Decedent’s Death. Delaware requires that at least thirty days pass since the death of the Decedent before a small estate affidavit may be completed. Therefore, verify the correct amount of time has passed since the Decedent’s death by recording how many days it has been since his or her death.

11. Heirs

(9) Heirs To Decedent. It is imperative that a complete list of Heirs to the Decedent’s estate be presented when completing the affidavit for a small estate in Maryland. To this end, list each of the Delaware Decedent’s Heirs by name and discuss the relationship held with the Decedent. Begin with the column on the left as a presentation area for the name of an Heir then continue to the next column.

(10) Address And Telephone Number Of Heirs.

13. Decedent Assets

(11) Delaware Decedent Assets. The physical and intangible property that makes up the Delaware Decedent’s estate will need to be presented as part of this petitioning process. Utilize the area in Section 13 to document every piece of estate property as an “Asset” of the Decedent that will be delivered to the appropriate party through the petitioning process.

(12) Asset Descriptions. Define each asset by listing its “Value” and any other “Additional Information” that aids in defining the concerned property.

14. Decedent Debts And/Or Liabilities

(13) Type Of Debt. In addition to the assets that were inventoried and presented above, any debts or liabilities the Delaware Decedent owed at the time of death should be documented during the small estate affidavit process. Researching these debts beforehand can save one quite a bit of trouble during or after the petitioning is complete. Define each type of debt held against the Delaware Decedent’s estate in the first column of Section 14.

(14) Amount Of Debt. Proceed to the next area in Section 14 and define the full amount owed for this debt by the Delaware Decedent in the second column.

(15) Creditor Information. Document the full name of the Creditor who expects the payment defined for the debt held. This should be done on a row-by-row basis.  Make sure to coordinate each debt amount being reported with the appropriate Creditor.

15. Estate Property Due To Heirs

(16) Heir And Expected Estate Property. Section 15 should be used to combine the previous areas of reporting. Here, match every Heir of the Decedent to a record of the property he or she must inherit from the Delaware Decedent. The column on the left shall accept this list of Heirs while the column on the right expects an entry of the property the concerned Delaware Heir is entitled to.

16. Delaware Execution Of The Affiant Signature

(17) Establish Delaware As The State Of Jurisdiction. Furnish the name of the state where this form will be developed (“Delaware”).

(18) Affiant Testimonial Signature. The Delaware Affiant must sign his or her name to file this paperwork. His or her signature will provide testimony to the Affiant’s belief that all the material presented above is accurate. This signature act should be notarized since this will further solidify such testimony by showing the Affiant personally signed this under appropriate circumstances.

(19) Notarization. While this document is made as a preparatory aid for the small estate affidavit process, it may be useful to complete the signature portion with a Notary Public. Remember, when completing the state-issued affidavit, the death certificate attached must be notarized.

Attachment A

(20) Heirs Attachment. If more room is required then was provided to report all the Delaware Decedent Heirs in Section 11, continue the list of each Deleware Decedent Heir’s name, address, relationship (to the Decedent), and telephone number using Attachment A.

Attachment B

(21) Continued Report On Delaware Decedent’s Assets. If needed, utilize Attachment B to make sure that every asset requested in Section 13 is reported.

Attachment C

(22) Continuation Of Section 14. If more room was required to provide a list of all the liabilities or debts held against the Delaware Decedent’s estate then was made available in Section 14, then continue defining these liabilities in Attachment C.

Attachment D

(23) Property Due To Decedent’s Heirs Or Devisees. Make sure that every Heir or Devisee entitled to property is documented in Section 15 with the Decedent property that is due to him or her. If there was not enough room to complete this task, then use Attachment D to furnish the balance of this information.