Small Estate Affidavit Texas (TX) Form

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Small Estate Affidavit Texas (TX) Form

A small estate affidavit is a form that helps the successors of the decedent to expedite the settlement of a small estate through probate. This free template will help you complete your small estate affidavit form. Further, you can notarize it on our website and share it upon request. 

What is Small Estate Affidavit Texas?

The family members or a spouse of a deceased person must undergo a formal probate process in order to take possession of the inherited property. The courts supervise all the probate proceedings, including the property distribution to creditors and heirs. The whole process is conducted and filed in the local jurisdiction where the decedent passed and where the assets are located.

For a family, this procedure can be resource-consuming and painstaking. By submitting a small estate affidavit form, heirs can avoid probate and speed up the property transfer.What is small estate affidavit in legal terms in Texas? It is a quick and money-saving way for heirs to obtain ownership of a decedent’s property. Families can use this form to probate an estate in Texas if they match the requirements established in the Texas Estates Code Chapter 205. Therefore, they will avoid the need to go through formal probate.

Affidavit of Heirship vs. Small Estate Affidavit Texas

There are several significant differences between the two types of documents. 

Affidavit of heirship

This affidavit is used when a person dies without a will, and the assets comprise mainly real property titled in the decedent’s name. The document identifies the heirs to real property the deceased has left.

The affidavit of heirship is filed with deed records in the county where the real property of a passed-away individual is located. Although the document does not transfer title to real property, Texas Estates Code 203.001 states it becomes evidence about the property after five years it has been on file. The affidavit of heirship composes a transparent chain of title transfer to the successors.

Small Estate Affidavit

Unlike the affidavit of heirship, the small estate affidavit only transfers the title of the decedent’s homestead. Only a surviving spouse or minor child can inherit property through this affidavit type. The other types of the deceased person’s real property cannot be transferred by submitting a small estate affidavit.

The successors can obtain ownership of the decedent’s homestead by listing the real property and its legal description in the affidavit, together with the other owner’s assets. Then, the form must get approval from the judge. Once an approval is obtained, a certified copy of the document and the court order approving it should be filed with the real property records.

Small Estate Affidavit Texas: Instructions 2023

Before filing the form, successors should check several factors to identify whether they can use this affidavit. If the document is applicable in their case, they must provide all the required information. 

The fundamental conditions to use a small estate affidavit tx  

  • Did the decedent leave a valid will?

If yes, then the heirs may not use this document. Otherwise, they can submit a small estate affidavit form.

  • What property does a petitioner try to transfer?

If you are a surviving spouse of the deceased or the decedent had minor children, you can transfer the decedent’s homestead. However, the non-exempt assets should not surpass $75,000.00. 

  • Can you file the form?

To file a small estate affidavit tx, you must be an inheriting party according to state intestacy law.  An inheriting party could be a spouse, a child, or another close relative if the deceased wasn’t married and had no children. In case the only heir is a minor, the person who can submit an affidavit on their behalf is their guardian or next of kin.

The information you need to list in your small estate affidavit

  • Name and address of the deceased property owner;
  • Date of death;
  • A complete list of the estate’s assets and debts;
  • Names and addresses of all distributes.

Make sure the affidavit is signed by:

  • All estate distributees having legal capacity;
  • The guardian or next of kin of incapacitated heirs or minors.

The completed affidavit should be filed with the probate court, which will confirm that it complies with all legal requirements. Once the form has been approved, distributees can use a certified copy of the affidavit to collect estate assets or money owed to the estate.

Small Estate Affidavit Texas: Requirements

In order to transfer the decedent’s property through a small estate affidavit in Texas, the heirs need to match the small estate affidavit Texas requirements stated in the Texas Estates Code Chapter 205. The most critical ones are listed below.

  • The property owner died without a will.
  • At least 30 days have passed since the owner died.
  • The total value of the left property is less than $75,000 (excluding homestead property and exempt property).
  • No one has applied for an appointment as a personal estate representative.
  • All the heirs can sign the small estate affidavit.
  • The total value of the estate’s non-exempt assets exceeds the value of its total debt.

Exempt property includes:

  • The homestead for the use and benefit of a surviving spouse and minor children.
  • Not more than $100,000 ($50,000 for an adult person) value of the property for the use and benefit of a spouse, minor children, unmarried adult children living at home, and incapacitated adult children. Such property includes home furnishings, jewelry, and clothes.

If your deceased loved one didn’t own any other property than the homestead, a small estate affidavit is a quick, efficient, and painless way of transferring a small estate.

Steps for Filing Small Estate Affidavit TX

How do I get a small estate affidavit in Texas? Here is a six-step guide for obtaining and completing the form in this state.

Step 1: Collect the necessary information

You must wait 30 days after the decedent’s death to submit a small estate affidavit. During this month, you can collect all the required information.

  • Find out whether the deceased has left a will.
  • Determine the value of all assets and debts. Homestead and exempt property should not be included. You can view the list of exempt property in § 353.051.
  • Identify whether the deceased applied for Medicaid benefits starting from March 1, 2005.
  • Discover the details about the successors and get family history information that confirms the heirship.

Step 2: Prepare your affidavit form

Download the free small estate affidavit Texas form here, fill it out, and submit it to the County Clerk’s Office. Completing the template is simple and quick. It is designed to save you time and effort.

Step 3: Determine the witnesses to sign the form

According to the state laws, you need to obtain the signatures of two people who have no private interest in the property and are not associated with the deceased under the state’s laws. By providing their signatures, the witnesses confirm the recognition of the fact that anyone executing an affidavit is liable for damage to any individual that stems from a payment delivery, transfer, or issuance empowered by the affidavit. 

Step 4: Notarize the form

The parties need to sign the document before a notary public. Notably, you can notarize your small estate affidavit Texas on this website, as we provide the online services of a state-approved notary. 

Step 5: File an affidavit with the probate court

After completing and signing the form, you should submit it to the clerk of the probate court in the county where the decedent resided. In some counties, you’ll need to provide a copy of the death certificate as an attachment. The fee for filing the forms varies by county.

Step 6: Distribute the small estate affidavit

As soon as the court approves your affidavit, you should distribute the copies to each individual owing money to the estate, having custody of the estate’s property, or acting as a registrar, fiduciary, or transfer agent of or for assets belonging to the estate. This requirement is outlined in § 205.004.


What is the meaning of Small Estate Affidavit Texas?

Many people do not own a substantial estate or compose a will. When an individual who passes away has assets, including a family home and an average bank account, undergoing probate proceedings seems rather a waste of time, effort, and resources. In such cases, a small estate affidavit can save family members from a painstaking process if the inherited estate qualifies according to Texas intestacy law.

What is a small estate affidavit used for in Texas?

A small estate affidavit tx is a legal form that is used to transfer property to the decedent’s successors, avoiding formal probate. However, only strictly specified circumstances allow heirs to use a small estate affidavit. The deceased owner’s property must match the requirements established in the Texas Estates Code Chapter 205.

When do you need Small Estate Affidavit Texas?

If your loved one who has passed away owned a small homestead and a modest bank account, you can use Texas small estate affidavit form to transfer property without the formal probate. To file the form, you need to match the following basic conditions:

  • The property owner hasn’t left a will;
  • The total estate value is $75,000 or lower.

Then, you can download and fill out this free small estate affidavit Texas form and submit it to your local authority. Ultimately, your family estate can be settled without the expensive court proceeding.

How do I get a small estate affidavit in Texas?

There are several options you can use to get your form. The most efficient and straightforward way is to utilize a free template available on PandaDoc. Here, you can fill out the form using our recommendations and notarize it online. 

You can also visit a probate court or their website to obtain the form there or hire an attorney.

Does a small estate affidavit need to be notarized in Texas?

The laws in Texas, specifically Texas Estates Codes section 205.002, require the small estate affidavit form to be sworn to by two witnesses and the distributees or heirs. To swear a document, a person must sign it before the Notary Public.

At PandaDoc, however, the whole notarization procedure can be completed online.

How do I notarize small estate affidavit (TX)?

To notarize your small estate affidavit in Texas, you must obtain the signatures of two disinterested witnesses and the distributees or heirs. The document needs to be witnessed in front of the notary. 

To simplify and speed up the process, you can use the services of the on-demand online notary at PandaDoc. This way, you’ll complete the online notarization for the affidavit in a few minutes. Our notary is state approved for remote online notarization.

How much does a small estate affidavit cost in Texas?

The filing fee schedule varies from county to county. If you use our free template and complete it on your own, you can minimize your costs. Thus, you can expect a payment ranging from $250 to $400.00.