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Montana Small Estate Affidavit | Collection of Personal Property by Affidavit

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Montana Small Estate Affidavit | Collection of Personal Property by Affidavit

Updated October 26, 2023

A Montana small estate affidavit is a legal document that gives the holder the right to collect property previously owned by a decedent, a person who has died. Also known as “Collection of Personal Property by Affidavit,” it provides a simpler, quicker alternative to the traditional probate process for transferring ownership of the decedent’s assets to heirs and successors. It is available whether or not the decedent had a will, but can be used only for certain kinds of property, and only for estates with a value smaller than a state-established maximum.


How to File (4 steps)

  1. Wait 30 Days
  2. Identify Property
  3. Fill Out the Form
  4. Collect the Property

1. Wait 30 Days

At least thirty (30) days must have passed before the affidavit can be effective. As the day approaches, verify that there is not a pending application to appoint a personal representative. This may be done by checking with the probate court in the county where the decedent lived. To find the correct court, use this Court Locator.

2. Identify Property

First, make a list of all personal property in the estate. This includes movable possessions and bank accounts, but not land or fixtures. If seeking to transfer ownership of a motor vehicle, Form MV-12, an Application for Title of Vehicle by Right of Survivorship, is also required. Add up their value to ensure that it totals less than $100,000. If the decedent had a will, the assets should be distributed in the fashion it describes. If not, they should be distributed according to the state’s intestate succession laws.

3. Fill out the Affidavit

If there are multiple heirs or successors entitled to different items, it may be necessary to fill out multiple times. Make sure to have each one notarized. Only those who are entitled to the property may fill out the affidavit.

4. Collect the Property

Once the affidavit is filled out and notarized, it provides the holder with a legal right to collect personal property. If someone is in possession of the personal property named in the affidavit and refuses to part with it when shown the form, it may be necessary to consult with an attorney.

How to Write

Download: PDF

(1) Montana County Of Petition. The Montana County where this action will be engaged should be named. Typically, this will be the same County where the Montana Decedent maintained his or her home residence.

(2) Successor Name. The Successor to the Montana Decedent can use this document to lay claim to the Decedent’s property. To this end, the full name of the Successor to the Montana Decedent’s property should be dispensed as part of this petition’s opening.

(3) Montana Decedent Name. Now that the County and the Affiant are identified, the full name of the Montana Decedent is required. The first article of this petition seeks this entry.

(4) Montana Decedent Date Of Death. Transcribe the calendar date noted on the Montana Decedent’s death certificate as the day he or she died.

(5) Claiming Successor To Montana Decedent. The fifth article shall act to establish the Affiant’s successorship to the Montana Decedent property. Furnish the name of the Successor to this article’s language.

(6) Estate Property Being Claimed. A complete description of the Montana Decedent property expected by the the Affiant behind this paperwork will be needed to complete its purpose. Thus, produce a report of all the tangible property or intangible property (i.e. a stock or bank account) making up the Montana Decedent’s estate by documenting its description, listing any number needed to identify the asset, and its value on the current market.

(7) Successor Signature. The Montana Decedent’s Successor who is issuing this paperwork should sign his or her name as its Affiant.

(8) Notarization. The Montana Notary Public viewing the signing will fulfill the important role of acting as its Witness. Furthermore, he or she will aid in identifying that the Affiant personally signed this document with his or her credentials and the process of notarization.