Get your notarized small estate affidavit form seamlessly and quickly with PandaDoc Notary. Select the blank affidavit form for your specific state, complete, and notarize it online. You can also download PDF after completion if you need a printable affidavit form.
What is Small Estate Affidavit
A small estate affidavit is a document that authorizes an heir to claim the assets of a passed-away person beyond the probate proceedings. It enables you, as a descendant of a deceased small estate owner, to take possession of the property omitting the formal probate process.
All the decedent’s assets become part of the overall estate value, and if the value doesn’t surpass the established level, the estate qualifies for a small estate affidavit. The value level, as well as the details regarding the form completion and submission, are regulated in each state individually.
When You Need Small Estate Affidavit
When a person passes away, a probate court controls the process of distributing their property to creditors, lenders, and heirs. For the family of a deceased individual, this process can be costly, time-consuming, and painful. Therefore, heirs can submit a small estate affidavit form for the estates that qualify, relieving themselves from this formal and painstaking procedure.
The document’s name, definition, and requirements vary from state to state. The main differentiating parameters include the following:
- The total value of the qualifying estates. The value is calculated by summing up all the money and other assets of the deceased individual and then subtracting debts. In many cases, however, estates are limited to the individual’s personal property, which includes buildings or land.
- The time to wait after the deceased party’s death. The time can vary from 10 to 90 days.
- Signing requirements. States typically require the signatures of a Notary Public, Court Clerk, Probate Judge, or other persons/bodies.
Therefore, before filing a small estate affidavit, you should study the local legislation regarding the form completion and submission.
To fill out the small estate affidavit form, in most states you will need to provide the following information:
- Proof of identity;
- Your address;
- Decedent’s information: name, date of passing, former address;
- Death certificate;
- The list of assets, including descriptions and values;
- The list of surviving household members;
- The list of unpaid debts or claims;
- Receipts for all funeral expenses;
- The last will;
- Any other information required by the state.
How Affidavit for Small Estates Works
To claim the assets, a petitioner should present a small estate affidavit form to a respective authority, for instance, a bank, credit union, or court.
After a certain waiting period after the decedent’s death, the inheritors are allowed to submit a form with all the required documents.
In most states, a petitioner needs to give an affidavit only to the body that is holding the property. However, some states require to provide copies to the other entities:
- To the state taxing agency, in cases when state taxes are due.
- To the Health Department if the decedent received any public benefits. The government may seek reimbursement for the provided aid if there’s money left in the estate.
Once the processing finishes, the authority can transfer the property to an heir.
How to Fill Out the Small Estate Affidavit Form
Follow the six distinct steps to complete and submit your small estate affidavit form seamlessly.
Step 1. Wait for the required time
The family members of a decedent must wait for an identified period of time before they can file the small estate affidavit. It can be as little as 10 days in Colorado, or as up to 90 days in Louisiana. The precise number of days is determined by each state individually.
Step. 2 Identify the estate’s value
The heirs are required to present an itemized list of the owner’s properties, assets, liens, and debts. The total value must not exceed the maximum value of qualifying estates identified by the state.
Step 3. Obtain the documents
You need to attach the following documents to your small estate affidavit form:
- A certified copy of the death certificate;
- A confirmation of the decedent’s ownership of the property indicated in the form;
- A proof of your identity;
- Inventory and Appraisal form of any real property owned by the deceased individual;
- The signatures of all individuals legally entitled to obtain the property;
- Notarization of documents, if required.
Step 4. Get the blank small estate affidavit form
You should complete the state-specific version of the document. You can get the blank affidavit form for your state at PandaDoc and follow our instructions to fill it out. Make sure to fulfill all the requirements and include the necessary attachments. Do not forget to obtain all the signatures your state demands.
Step 5. Contact family members / heirs
You should ensure that everyone entitled to the property is notified of the small estate filing. When filling out an affidavit form online, you can add them via email. Or contact all parties through certified mail with a return receipt so that you have proof that all family members and heirs have been informed.
Step 6. File with the probate office
Submit the small estate affidavit form with all the necessary documents and the filing fee to the probate office. The processing may take up to 15 days. If the petition is accepted, the heir will officially receive the decedent’s assets.
Small Estate Affidavit for Bank Account
The successor of the passed individual can claim the transfer of personal property, including bank accounts, by using a small estate affidavit in the following cases:
- The required number of days have passed since the decedent’s death;
- The total value of the decedent’s assets qualifies for a small estate affidavit;
- No probate proceedings are pending for the decedent’s estate.
To file a small estate affidavit for bank account, a petitioner may be required to provide proof of
- The petitioner’s relationship to the decedent or the basis of the petitioner’s claim to the bank account;
- The petitioner’s entitlement to payment or delivery of the bank account.
Besides, a successor must fulfill state-specific notarization and follow the signature requirements.
What is the purpose of a small estate affidavit?
A small estate affidavit aims to expedite the settlement of a small estate by eliminating the need to undergo a formal probate process. The form allows the successors of a person who has passed away to simplify the process of the property transfer and save their time and resources.
What is the limit of a small estate affidavit?
The legislation about the small estate affidavit form and application process may vary significantly. The definition of qualifying small estates ranges from about $10,000 to $275,000, while a typical average is considered $50,000.
To submit a form properly, a petitioner should confirm the state’s definition of a small estate and the requirements for completing the form. Besides, it’s crucial to identify what property can be part of a small estate. For instance, the respective laws in several states do not include vehicles.