What is a Small Estate Affidavit?

A small estate affidavit is a form one can complete to speed settlement of a small estate through probate. It eliminates the need for a spouse or family members to go through a formal probate process supervised by the courts in the distribution of a loved one’s property to creditors and heirs. It is completed and filed in the local jurisdiction where the deceased passed and where the property is located.

When to Use a Small Estate Affidavit

A small estate affidavit can be used if the following conditions are met:

  1. The spouse or family member passed on and the value of the estate’s assets meets the Small Estate requirements under state law; and,
  2. The person completing the small estate affidavit form was named executor of the estate.

Typically, a small estate affidavit is used when there is no Last Will. However, some states may allow its use in conjunction with a Last Will depending on certain legal requirements. You should consult with an attorney in the respective state where the final estate matters will be resolved with any questions.

Only specific individuals can complete a small estate affidavit. These include:

  • Spouse
  • Domestic partners
  • Children (or guardian of minor children)
  • Parent of deceased, if the deceased is a child without a spouse

You will need to include this information on the small estate affidavit form.

What is the Definition of a Small Estate?

The definition of small estate varies from state to state. Some states may be as low as $10,000 where others have been known to be as high as $275,000. While $50,000 is typically given as an average, it’s best to confirm a state’s definition of a small estate prior to completing the small estate affidavit form.

It’s also important to understand what property qualifies as part of a small estate. For example, in some states, vehicles are not included under small estate laws.

Information Needed to Complete a Small Estate Affidavit Form

An attorney can provide a small estate affidavit form. You can also find free small estate affidavits by state online.

To complete the form, you will need to provide the following information:

  • Your name
  • Your address and mailing address, if different
  • Deceased’s information, name, date of passing, former address
  • Asset list with descriptions and values
  • Confirmation of payment for all funeral and burial expenses
  • List and details of any unpaid debts or claims
  • Name and addresses of surviving spouse and children
  • Any other information required by the state