The Law Dictionary

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How To Use A Small Estate Affidavit

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As the world seeks faster and cheaper solutions to common problems to handling financial matters, the traditional probate court process has become overly burdensome in terms of time and money. When an estate consists of a small home or few valuable assets, then it can qualify as a Small Estate. The Small Estate Affidavit can be used to expedite the asset distribution process after someone dies.

Small Estate Affidavit Used by Executor

While a close family member could fill out the Small Estate Affidavit, the information and duties present in the form are really better suited to the executor or personal representative of the Deceased’s estate. The primary function is to provide a list of relevant information for the probate court in order to accelerate the process of distributing the real property. The person who fills out the firm is called the Affiant.

The Affiant must estimate the gross value of the estate before even starting to fill out the form. The definition of a Small Estate varies by state, but is generally below $100,000 or $150,000. Imagine the price of a small home. Some states will not accept the Small Estate Affidavit.

List of Property and Recipient

The first item to be filled in for the Small Estate Affidavit is the mailing and physical address of the Affiant. Next, the relationship of the Affiant and the Decedent must be established and confirmed by answering the following questions: Deceased name, residence at time of death and date of death. The Affiant must attach a copy of the death certificate to the form.

Were all funeral expenses fully paid? Was there a will? And if the Affiant has possession thereof, how did he get the will? Are there any codicils to the will? A list of surviving spouse and children must be made along with residence addresses. The list of debts to persons and organizations must be listed also.

One of the most important sections is the list of fair market value of personal property and the intended recipients of said property. The Affiant must testify if he knows of any disputes or potential conflicts regarding heirship. When completed, the executor should present this form to a probate judge. Then the executor can commence with his administrative duties of distributing assets to the heirs.


This article contains general legal information but does not constitute professional legal advice for your particular situation. The Law Dictionary is not a law firm, and this page does not create an attorney-client or legal adviser relationship. If you have specific questions, please consult a qualified attorney licensed in your jurisdiction.

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