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A small estate affidavit is a sworn statement to settle a deceased person's small estate. However, the definition of "small" differs for each State. For instance, a small estate in Georgia can't exceed $10,000, but in Oregon, it goes up to $275,000 ($75,000 for personal and $200,000 for real property).

Using a small estate affidavit, you may speed up closing an estate and collecting assets without involving the formal probate process. The total dollar value of the decedent's assets determines the asset limits.

Likewise, states also differ in what assets qualify as probate assets. However, in most cases, they include personal property and financial accounts without designated beneficiaries on the small estate threshold.

A small estate affidavit might be a suitable alternative because probate proceedings are time-consuming and costly. Find out more about the small estate affidavit form, when to use it, who qualifies, and how to complete it below.

How Do I File a Small Estate Affidavit?

In the case of a complicated matter, consult an estate planning attorney. But you can complete a small estate affidavit on your own without the help of a professional. Below is how to file a small estate affidavit.

Depending on the county and state where the decedent lived, these steps differ slightly:

Get a blank affidavit of a small estate from a probate court's website in the deceased's county. There are affidavit templates that can help you do this. Complete the form. Include any attachments required, such as: The official death certificate A list of all decedent's property with proof for each item* Your official ID Get signatures from anyone else who may inherit the property you claim on the form—their signature shows consent. Notarize your documents if necessary (see table below). Wait for the court* to transfer the property to you.

File the small estate affidavit with the probate court once it is complete. As part of the review process, the court will confirm that the affidavit complies with statutory requirements. Following a Court's approval of the affidavit, the estate's heirs can collect the decedent's money or assets.

Does a small estate affidavit need to be notarized?

It depends on your State's requirements if you need a notarized Small Estate Affidavit. Some states only require notarial signatures "under penalty of perjury." Check out the notary requirements in your State below.

When should I use a small estate affidavit?

To determine whether a small estate affidavit is required, answer the following questions:

  1. Is the estate of the decedent considered a small estate? Ensure the decedent's estate's total dollar value does not exceed your State's small estate threshold.
  2. Was there a will left behind? Small estate affidavits stand where there is no Last Will and Testament, but depending on state laws, one might also use it alongside a Will.

  3. Is enough time elapsed? You might have to wait a while before submitting the form to use the small estate affidavit. See the table below.

Who can complete a small estate affidavit form?

Eligibility depends on the relation to the decedent. These could be:

Where to Get a Small Estate Affidavit Form

An estate planning attorney draws up small estate affidavits and might charge a few hundred dollars to draft them. Or download a free affidavit online template. Once you fill out the form, you must print it out and sign it using wet ink.

Small Estate Affidavit Law by State

In some places, a third person must witness your signature, and, depending on your state, you may need to notarize the affidavit. However, if you wish to establish the document's validity and prepare it for recording, it is highly recommended that you seek notarization.

For some financial institutions, you may need a notary public to notarize the affidavit before accepting your claim.

A Small Estate Affidavit Can Help You Avoid Probate

For a small estate affidavit, it is unnecessary to hire a lawyer. Use an affidavit template form for legal, personal, or business purposes, and create your own legally binding statement using our online tools and guidance.

Helpful Resources:

Unsworn declarations under penalty of perjury in lieu of affidavits

What Is a Small Estate Affidavit & How Do I Get One in My State? - Policygenius

A small estate affidavit is a sworn statement to settle a deceased person's small estate. However, the definition of "small" differs for each State. For instance, a small estate in Georgia can't exceed $10,000, but in Oregon, it goes up to $275,000 ($75,000 for personal and $200,000 for real property).

Using a small estate affidavit, you may speed up closing an estate and collecting assets without involving the formal probate process. The total dollar value of the decedent's assets determines the asset limits.

Likewise, states also differ in what assets qualify as probate assets. However, in most cases, they include personal property and financial accounts without designated beneficiaries on the small estate threshold.

A small estate affidavit might be a suitable alternative because probate proceedings are time-consuming and costly. Find out more about the small estate affidavit form, when to use it, who qualifies, and how to complete it below.

How Do I File a Small Estate Affidavit?

In the case of a complicated matter, consult an estate planning attorney. But you can complete a small estate affidavit on your own without the help of a professional. Below is how to file a small estate affidavit.

Depending on the county and state where the decedent lived, these steps differ slightly:

Get a blank affidavit of a small estate from a probate court's website in the deceased's county. There are affidavit templates that can help you do this. Complete the form. Include any attachments required, such as: The official death certificate A list of all decedent's property with proof for each item* Your official ID Get signatures from anyone else who may inherit the property you claim on the form—their signature shows consent. Notarize your documents if necessary (see table below). Wait for the court* to transfer the property to you.

File the small estate affidavit with the probate court once it is complete. As part of the review process, the court will confirm that the affidavit complies with statutory requirements. Following a Court's approval of the affidavit, the estate's heirs can collect the decedent's money or assets.

Does a small estate affidavit need to be notarized?

It depends on your State's requirements if you need a notarized Small Estate Affidavit. Some states only require notarial signatures "under penalty of perjury." Check out the notary requirements in your State below.

When should I use a small estate affidavit?

To determine whether a small estate affidavit is required, answer the following questions:

  1. Is the estate of the decedent considered a small estate? Ensure the decedent's estate's total dollar value does not exceed your State's small estate threshold.
  2. Was there a will left behind? Small estate affidavits stand where there is no Last Will and Testament, but depending on state laws, one might also use it alongside a Will.

  3. Is enough time elapsed? You might have to wait a while before submitting the form to use the small estate affidavit. See the table below.

Who can complete a small estate affidavit form?

Eligibility depends on the relation to the decedent. These could be:

Where to Get a Small Estate Affidavit Form

An estate planning attorney draws up small estate affidavits and might charge a few hundred dollars to draft them. Or download a free affidavit online template. Once you fill out the form, you must print it out and sign it using wet ink.

Small Estate Affidavit Law by State

In some places, a third person must witness your signature, and, depending on your state, you may need to notarize the affidavit. However, if you wish to establish the document's validity and prepare it for recording, it is highly recommended that you seek notarization.

For some financial institutions, you may need a notary public to notarize the affidavit before accepting your claim.

A Small Estate Affidavit Can Help You Avoid Probate

For a small estate affidavit, it is unnecessary to hire a lawyer. Use an affidavit template form for legal, personal, or business purposes, and create your own legally binding statement using our online tools and guidance.

Helpful Resources:

Unsworn declarations under penalty of perjury in lieu of affidavits

What Is a Small Estate Affidavit & How Do I Get One in My State? - Policygenius