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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.

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:

Small Estate Affidavit Sample

If you’re interested in creating your own small estate affidavit form, you should familiarize yourself with how it should look beforehand.

Review the small estate affidavit sample below to understand how the form should be structured.

Small Estate Affidavit Sample

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.

Where to Get a Small Estate Affidavit Form

An estate planning attorney draws up small estate affidavits, and they often charge at least a few hundred dollars to draft them.

Rather than pay such a high price, download our free affidavit online template. Once you fill out the form, you must print it out and sign it using wet ink.

Download Your Small Estate Affidavit Now

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.

State Maximum Amounts ($) Waiting Time and Signing Requirements
Alabama $32,047 (figure adjusted for inflation) 30 days — No Statute*
Alaska $100,000 for vehicles; $50,000 for other personal property 30 days — No Statute*
Arizona $75,000--tangible personal property; $100,000--real property 30 days—No Statute*
Arkansas $100,000 45 days — Local Probate Court Clerk (See List)
California $184,500 40 days — Notary Public
Colorado $70,000 10 days — Notary Public
Connecticut $40,000 No Statute
Delaware $30,000 30 days — No Statute, but Death Certificate must be notarized
Florida $75,000 No Statute*
Georgia None; $15,000 when claiming funds in a bank account No Statute — Notary Public
Hawaii $100,000 (excluding motor vehicles) No Statute — Notary Public
Idaho $100,000 30 days — Notary Public
Illinois $100,000 No Statute — Notary Public
Indiana $50,000 45 days — Notary Public
Iowa $50,000 40 days — Notary Public
Kansas $40,000 No Statute — Notary Public
Kentucky $30,000 No Statute — Notary Public or Judge/Clerk of the District Court
Louisiana $125,000 90 Days (For Immovable Property Only) — Notary Public
Maine $40,000 30 days — Notary Public
Maryland $50,000; $100,000 for surviving spouses when filing as sole legatee No Statute
Massachusetts $25,000 (excluding the value of vehicle) 30 days — Notary Public
Michigan $24,000 (figure adjusted for inflation) 28 days — Notary Public
Minnesota $75,000 30 days — Notary Public
Mississippi $75,000 30 days — Notary Public
Missouri $40,000 30 days — Notary Public
Montana $50,000 30 days — Notary Public
Nebraska $50,000 30 days — Notary Public
Nevada $100,000--spouse; $25,000--other claimants 40 days — No Statute*
New Hampshire N/A N/A
New Jersey $50,000 for spouses, $20,000 for non-spousal heirs No Statute — Notary Public
New Mexico $50,000 30 days — Notary Public
New York $50,000 No Statute — Notary Public
North Carolina $20,000 non-spousal heirs; $30,000 for surviving spouses 30 days — Notary Public or Court Clerk
North Dakota $50,000 30 days — Notary Public or Court Clerk
Ohio $100,000--spouse, $35,000--other claimants No Statute — Probate Judge (once approved)
Oklahoma $50,000 10 days — Notary Public
Oregon $275,000 ($75,000--personal property; $200,000--real property) 30 days — Notary Public
Pennsylvania $50,000 No Statute — Notary Public and PA Register of Last Will and Testament Deputy
Rhode Island $15,000 30 days — Notary Public and Probate Judge / Probate Clerk
South Carolina $25,000 30 days — Notary Public and Probate Judge
South Dakota $50,000 30 days — Notary Public
Tennessee $50,000 45 days — Notary Public or [Deputy Clerk](https://www.lawdistrict.com/legal-dictionary/deputy)
Texas $75,000 30 days — Notary Public and Two (2) Disinterested Witnesses
Utah $100,000 30 days — Notary Public
Vermont $45,000 No Statute — Notary Public
Virginia $50,000 60 days — Notary Public
Washington $100,000 40 days — Notary Public
Washington D.C. $40,000 No Statute — Legal Branch of Probate Division
West Virginia $100,000 for interests in real estate; $50,000 for personal property 30 days (if decedent died estate); 60 days (if intestate) — Notary Public
Wisconsin $50,000 No Statute — Notary Public
Wyoming $200,000 30 days — Notary Public

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 | Gov.info

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.

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:

Small Estate Affidavit Sample

If you’re interested in creating your own small estate affidavit form, you should familiarize yourself with how it should look beforehand.

Review the small estate affidavit sample below to understand how the form should be structured.

Small Estate Affidavit Sample

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.

Where to Get a Small Estate Affidavit Form

An estate planning attorney draws up small estate affidavits, and they often charge at least a few hundred dollars to draft them.

Rather than pay such a high price, download our free affidavit online template. Once you fill out the form, you must print it out and sign it using wet ink.

Download Your Small Estate Affidavit Now

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.

State Maximum Amounts ($) Waiting Time and Signing Requirements
Alabama $32,047 (figure adjusted for inflation) 30 days — No Statute*
Alaska $100,000 for vehicles; $50,000 for other personal property 30 days — No Statute*
Arizona $75,000--tangible personal property; $100,000--real property 30 days—No Statute*
Arkansas $100,000 45 days — Local Probate Court Clerk (See List)
California $184,500 40 days — Notary Public
Colorado $70,000 10 days — Notary Public
Connecticut $40,000 No Statute
Delaware $30,000 30 days — No Statute, but Death Certificate must be notarized
Florida $75,000 No Statute*
Georgia None; $15,000 when claiming funds in a bank account No Statute — Notary Public
Hawaii $100,000 (excluding motor vehicles) No Statute — Notary Public
Idaho $100,000 30 days — Notary Public
Illinois $100,000 No Statute — Notary Public
Indiana $50,000 45 days — Notary Public
Iowa $50,000 40 days — Notary Public
Kansas $40,000 No Statute — Notary Public
Kentucky $30,000 No Statute — Notary Public or Judge/Clerk of the District Court
Louisiana $125,000 90 Days (For Immovable Property Only) — Notary Public
Maine $40,000 30 days — Notary Public
Maryland $50,000; $100,000 for surviving spouses when filing as sole legatee No Statute
Massachusetts $25,000 (excluding the value of vehicle) 30 days — Notary Public
Michigan $24,000 (figure adjusted for inflation) 28 days — Notary Public
Minnesota $75,000 30 days — Notary Public
Mississippi $75,000 30 days — Notary Public
Missouri $40,000 30 days — Notary Public
Montana $50,000 30 days — Notary Public
Nebraska $50,000 30 days — Notary Public
Nevada $100,000--spouse; $25,000--other claimants 40 days — No Statute*
New Hampshire N/A N/A
New Jersey $50,000 for spouses, $20,000 for non-spousal heirs No Statute — Notary Public
New Mexico $50,000 30 days — Notary Public
New York $50,000 No Statute — Notary Public
North Carolina $20,000 non-spousal heirs; $30,000 for surviving spouses 30 days — Notary Public or Court Clerk
North Dakota $50,000 30 days — Notary Public or Court Clerk
Ohio $100,000--spouse, $35,000--other claimants No Statute — Probate Judge (once approved)
Oklahoma $50,000 10 days — Notary Public
Oregon $275,000 ($75,000--personal property; $200,000--real property) 30 days — Notary Public
Pennsylvania $50,000 No Statute — Notary Public and PA Register of Last Will and Testament Deputy
Rhode Island $15,000 30 days — Notary Public and Probate Judge / Probate Clerk
South Carolina $25,000 30 days — Notary Public and Probate Judge
South Dakota $50,000 30 days — Notary Public
Tennessee $50,000 45 days — Notary Public or [Deputy Clerk](https://www.lawdistrict.com/legal-dictionary/deputy)
Texas $75,000 30 days — Notary Public and Two (2) Disinterested Witnesses
Utah $100,000 30 days — Notary Public
Vermont $45,000 No Statute — Notary Public
Virginia $50,000 60 days — Notary Public
Washington $100,000 40 days — Notary Public
Washington D.C. $40,000 No Statute — Legal Branch of Probate Division
West Virginia $100,000 for interests in real estate; $50,000 for personal property 30 days (if decedent died estate); 60 days (if intestate) — Notary Public
Wisconsin $50,000 No Statute — Notary Public
Wyoming $200,000 30 days — Notary Public

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 | Gov.info

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