A small estate affidavit may be used in place of a formal estate proceeding (opening an estate before a judge) to collect the decedent’s personal property when the total value of the deceased individual’s (decedent’s) personal property is less than $100,000 and the decedent owned no real estate.
An affidavit must be completed which states the names and addresses of the heirs at law if the decedent died without a will or the beneficiaries’ names and addresses if the decedent had a will. The affiant (individual who signs the affidavit) must state that no estate proceeding before a court is pending nor is one contemplated. He must also state that all funeral expenses have been paid and that there is no known claimant (debtor) and no known claims against the property. All assets must be listed on the affidavit as well.
No notice is required to heirs, beneficiaries or creditors. The affiant holds harmless all creditors and heirs of the decedent and other persons relying upon the affidavit who suffer a loss because of their reliance.
The affidavit does not need to be filed with the Court.
It is a useful tool when there is no question about debts of the decedent and there are assets in the decedent’s name which need to be accessed.
Contact an estate planning law firm for further information.