A small estate affidavit form is a legal document filled out by the individuals who have right to legally claim inheritance (assets or property) after the passing away of their family member or friend. This document is usually used when the decedent did not leave a will behind. However, this will depend on applicable state laws.
If the inheritance in question is valued within certain limits that may vary from state to state then an estate is only deemed “small.” The individuals that have a net worth ranging between $5000 and $150000 used a small estate affidavit. But, the maximum permissible net worth is state-specific. So, it is essential first to consult estate laws applicable in one’s state.
It is the responsibility of the petitioner or claimant to present the affidavit to a Probate Court in their county or jurisdiction. A small estate affidavit is also known as an Affidavit for Collection of Personal Property.
Purpose of a small estate affidavit:
The main purpose of this document is to legally transfer the obligation of properties from a decedent to their beneficiary or executor of the will. When acquiring an inheritance, it is used to avoid the lengthy probate process. With the help of small estate affidavit, beneficiaries of a decedent’s estate can access any person, company, or bank that currently holds estate property. Properties transferrable under this document involve bank accounts, art, vehicles, jewelry, etc. The affidavit provides the power to the beneficiaries to manage and distribute the decedent’s estate. No one has right to decline the transfer of any property relevant to the estate. According to the terms of affidavit, the entities have to transfer the assets, otherwise face legal prosecution.
How to make a small estate affidavit?
Here are the steps to make a small estate affidavit;
Specify the date of death of the decedent
At first, you have to ascertain the date of death. The city where the death occurred and the state should be mentioned. You can get this information from the decedent’s death certificate.
Wait the minimum period
Every estate sets a specified number of days during which claimants can only file the small estate affidavit after the decedent’s death. You should use this period to gather information about the decedent’s assets and property.
Mention either it is Intestate or testate death
The next step is to identify if the decedent left a will or not and mention it on the document. This is essential as some states require a will that must be presented for a small estate affidavit to be used. On the other hand, other does not require one and some allow both scenarios.
Explain outstanding funeral expenses
In the affidavit, all the funeral expenses should be listed, described in detail, and paid in full.
Indicate additional claims
If the decedent had any outstanding debts then it should be clearly defined.
List the surviving heirs
The affidavit must contain the information of every surviving heir who has legal claims to the decedent’s property.
Identify personal property
Next, determine the decedent’s personal property. This involves motor vehicles, general possessions, and any other thing that is not real property.
Declare real property
The real property should be declared when the personal property has been identified. Mention the proper description and total monetary value of the property.
Collect all the relevant documents
A small estate affidavit must be accompanied by a death certificate and title for the property (land and vehicles) owned by the departed.
Contact the family members
When the document is completed all heirs should be made aware of the existence of the small estate affidavit. With a return receipt, contact must be made via Certified Mail.
In the end, file the document with the Probate Court Clerk’s office. You may also like the Self-Proving Affidavit Form.
Small Estate Affidavit Form
Small Estate Affidavit for Collection of Property
Affidavit Form for Collection of Personal Property
In conclusion, a small estate affidavit form is a legal document used by individuals to transfer the property without getting through the expense of a probate process.