Can You Use A Small Estate Affidavit To Settle A Relative’s Estate?

One of the most important things anyone should do in life is to make a will. However, the creation of a will is often an overlooked part of life until it is too late. If a relative has passed away without a will in place, you could face some not-so-simple tasks when trying to figure out their estate. There are some options that could help make the process simpler, including using a small estate affidavit. Here is what you need to know:

What Is a Small Estate Affidavit?

A small estate affidavit is one method of informal administration of estates. This is a document that makes it a little easier to handle a small estate of a loved one who passed away with no will in place. To use a small estate affidavit, there are a few requirements that have to be met. First, the estate has to be under a certain amount, which varies from state to state. In general, the estate should be under $50,000 without including the value of exempt property, such as a homestead. Also, there cannot be a pending application for someone to become the representative for the estate.

What Is the Procedure?         

Completing a small estate affidavit is quite simple. You will have to fill out the affidavit and file it with the courthouse in the county the person lived in. It will need to be signed by two witnesses who do not have an interest in the estate. All of the beneficiaries would also have to sign the document.

On the affidavit, you will have to list the deceased property, their assets, debts, and heirs. You will also need to provide your contact information. After the affidavit is processed, the beneficiaries can use it to get the information they need to collect any property, such as a title to a house or a vehicle.  

Are there any Drawbacks?

Like any legal procedure, this process is not without its drawbacks. This affidavit requires the signature of all beneficiaries. Depending on the amount of people included, this could prove to be difficult. You may have to find people from other states, which can take some time. If you are the one who is handling this process, you could be held liable for damages that could arise in the transfer of property.

Settling an estate can be quite expensive if done traditionally. If you are able to satisfy the requirements of a small estate affidavit, it can be a much simpler and cheaper alternative. Before you begin the process, be sure to check with an estate administration attorney in the area to make sure this is an option.