Preparing a Small Estate Affidavit in Delaware is a beneficial way to administer the estate of a deceased person without having to go through the long, drawn out process of probate court proceedings.
The use of a Small Estate Affidavit for Delaware is limited to situations where the deceased person did not have a lot of assets. To qualify in Delaware, the estate in question must be valued below $30,000.
The major function of the Delaware Small Estate Affidavit is:
- To inform the court that the estate in question meets the requirements of a small estate
- And, that the simplified summary probate administration should be initiated instead
Also, this simplified process entitles the executor of the document to receive possession and ownership of the deceased person’s property without having to go through the formality of probate.
The person completing the Small Estate Affidavit Delaware form must also swear to make proper notice to other claimants, if any.
While the major legal requirement for utilizing a Small Estate Affidavit in Delaware is the total worth of the decedent’s property, there are a number of factors you should consider to ensure that the estate administration goes as smoothly as possible.
How to fill out a Small Estate Affidavit Delaware form
The Small Estate Administration process in Delaware is started when the affiant makes the application at the appropriate local court in Delaware where the decedent passed.
The appropriate court may be a surrogate’s court, probate court or circuit court, whichever is responsible for probate matters where the person died in Delaware and the estate is located.
There is usually a waiting period of about 45 days before Small Estate proceedings in Delaware can be started, however, the court may waive the waiting period with good cause.
While there is no formal process as to how a Delaware Small Estate Affidavit must be drafted, a few relevant specifics must be included:
- The name and address of the deceased person
- Whether or not the deceased person had written a will
- A list of all the assets in the estate, with specific information on all of them including all account numbers. The assets may include bank accounts, insurance policies, investment accounts and cars and boats
- Whether there are any unpaid debts by the deceased including funeral expenses. If there are, the name and address of each creditor, specifying the amount owed to each one
- A list of everyone holding property due to the estate, with the particular property stated, as well as the name and address of the individual
- A list of everyone entitled to receive property from the estate, stating their name, age, address and relationship with the deceased person
- That notice will be given to other successors and creditors notifying them of the affiant’s intention to lay claim to the estate
- That the affiant understands under penalty of perjury that the Small Estate Affidavit Delaware form is not false or misleading
Sometimes a Delaware Small Estate Affidavit might not be the right course of action, depending on the deceased person’s assets and the conditions of their financial health.
A Small Estate Affidavit for Delaware should not be filed when:
- There are minor or disabled beneficiaries
- The heirship may be disputed
- There are creditors or funeral expenses yet to be settled
- The will might be contested, ambiguous or of questionable validity
- All estate assets are not known
- Probate proceedings have already been initiated
A Delaware Small Estate Affidavit must be notarized
Once you have filled out the Delaware Small Estate Affidavit form completely, it must be sworn and signed in the presence of a local notary public.
A certified copy of the death certificate is also required to be filed along with the Small Estate Affidavit in Delaware. The death certificate can be obtained from the local health department for a nominal fee.
After the Delaware Small Estate Affidavit has been filed, the normal court process for Small Estate Administration takes place, with the affiant receiving the court’s permission to take over the estate, taking into consideration the provisions of the law with regards to creditors as well as court costs and other expenses.
After satisfying all claims, the estate’s assets can then be distributed, either in accordance with the will, or with the laws of intestacy, when there is no will.