In the event of a loved one’s death, the probate process oversees a deceased person’s personal property and distributes it to specified heirs and creditors. It can be a very complicated ordeal for the heirs due to probate’s supervision by the courts.
A Small Estate Affidavit is a simplified way of transferring a deceased person’s estate and assets to beneficiaries without having to go through formal probate.
A Small Estate Affidavit is typically drawn up in the following circumstances:
- A spouse or family member has passed with or without a will, and his or her assets meet the requirements for a Small Estate under state law
- You were named executor for an estate that meets the requirements for a Small Estate under state law
As a family member or executor, you probably do not want to spend a great deal of time in court trying to deal with the complex world of estate law. A Small Estate Affidavit can simplify and reduce the stress of the probate process with less paperwork and less delay.
What is Considered a Small Estate?
Each state has its own requirements for what it considers a Small Estate and all set limits on the total assets of a decedent’s estate when defining what is a Small Estate.
These limits run from a low of $10,000 in Georgia, South Carolina, New Hampshire and Vermont to a high of $275,000 in Oregon. The average state limit for Small Estates is around $50,000.
Also, some states count vehicles under the small estate laws, while others do not, so it’s important to know what qualifies before you file a Small Estate Affidavit.
How to Fill Out a Small Estate Affidavit Form
In order to file a Small Estate Affidavit, you should first investigate whether the county and state in which the deceased person lived has a Small Estate Affidavit form for you to fill out.
Even if you reside in a different state than the deceased, you can pick out a free state identified Small Estate Affidavit form from here and complete it.
You will need the following information to fill out a Small Estate Affidavit form:
- Your full name
- Your mailing and permanent addresses
- Information about the deceased person, including name, date of death, address prior to death
- A listing of assets, their descriptions, and their amounts (not to exceed the Small Estate law in that state)
- An affirmation that funeral and burial expenses have been paid for
- Details about unpaid debts or other claims
- Names and addresses of surviving spouses and children (both minor and adult dependent)
- Other pertinent information to help with the distribution of the deceased person’s assets
You will also need to describe your relationship to the deceased. Many times a Small Estate Affidavit is only available to successor beneficiaries like surviving spouses or domestic partners, an adult serving as guardian for minor children of the deceased, adult children or parents of the deceased.
Once you have completed the Small Estate Affidavit form in full, you will file the form in the local court jurisdiction where the decedent passed and the property is located.
Prepare a Free Small Estate Affidavit Form Online
If the decedent’s estate is smaller than the limits established by state law, then the estate can be administered under Small Estate Administration proceedings. All you need is a Small Estate Affidavit form and your loved one’s information.
With a Small Estate Affidavit form, you can avoid the time-consuming probate process with, not only, less cost and paperwork, but also a lot less of your time.