Avoiding Probate Court (Series II) – Small-Estate Affidavits
Although formal court proceedings are typically required in order to properly transfer property after death, avoiding probate court and formal court proceedings is possible under certain circumstances. In our Avoiding Probate Court (Series I) – Affidavits of Heirship: Considerations and Concerns blog, we addressed how to avoid formal court proceedings by preparing and filing an Affidavit of Heirship. This Series II blog will discuss the use of a small-estate affidavit as an alternative to formal administration of a decedent’s estate.
A small-estate affidavit is used to settle the estate of a decedent without formal administration when the decedent died without a will and the estate has little debt and consists of a homestead and a small amount of personal property. It is only possible to transfer real estate using a small estate affidavit if the property was the decedent’s homestead and the decedent is survived by a spouse or minor children.
After it has been prepared, each beneficiary must sign the affidavit. If a beneficiary cannot be found, a more extensive probate process has to be done. After everything is finalized and signed, the affidavit package is filed with the court. Once approved, the court’s order must be recorded in the county clerk’s records to finalize the process. It’s important to note the deadlines and timing to make sure your loved one’s estate is properly handled.
If you need assistance preparing a small estate affidavit or would like to discuss the intricacies related to such document or whether a small estate affidavit can be achieved given your circumstance, the attorneys at our firm are here to assist.
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