Small Estate Affidavit Forms


A small estate affidavit is used for settling the estate of a person without going through the probate process. Whether the form can be used depends on the state the person passed away in, as each state has specific requirements that must be met in order to skip probate.

Small Estate Affidavits by State

What is a Small Estate Affidavit?

A small estate affidavit is a form used for circumventing probate, which is the process in which a will is officially distributed in a court of law. Due to being such a time-consuming process, heirs or distributees often elect for using an affidavit to collect the belongings of the family member that passed away.

Whether or not an affidavit is required to be notarized by an official Notary Public is dependent on the applicable state law. The process of notarization is used to prove the legality of an affiant’s signatures and confirms that the signer(s) had a full understanding of what they were signing, and why.

Common Terms

Affiant – The individual filing the affidavit. If an affiant is not specified in a will – the decedent’s spouse or children can often file.

Decedent – The family member that passed away, leaving their assets to be distributed.

Distributee / Heir / Successor – An individual authorized to collect a portion (or all) of the decedent’s personal property if a will was not left behind (intestate).

Estate – The net worth of a person. Includes land, assets, and other possessions an individual owned.

How to Use a Small Estate Affidavit

The Small Estate Affidavit can be a confusing form to use. Almost every state has considerably varying laws regarding the time that must pass (after the decedent has passed away) before signing, differing maximum estate values, and required conditions that specify when a small estate affidavit can and cannot be used. The general process for filing a small estate affidavit after the death of a family member is the following:

1. Calculate the Total Value of the Estate

Subtracting liabilities from assets to calculate the total estate value for a Small Estate Affidavit.

To calculate the total monetary amount of an estate, start by adding up all the items that contribute positively towards the total assets. These include:

Intangible Personal Property

      • Banks Accounts (checking, savings, etc.)
      • Stocks, mutual funds, ETFs, etc.
      • Retirement plans
      • Percentage interests in businesses

Tangible Personal Property (anything that can be physically “touched”)

      • Motor vehicles, boats, motorcycles, etc.
      • Furniture & other homes items
      • Paintings, collectibles, coins

Once all positively contributing assets have been identified and added together, begin subtracting all liabilities of the decedent (contribute negatively towards total assets). These include:

      • Charitable deductions
      • Credit card debt, medical bills, mortgages, loans, utilities, etc.
      • Funeral expenses
      • Attorney fees

Once the total assets have been calculated, completion of the correct state-specific form can begin (head to step 2).

2. Complete a Small Estate Affidavit Form

Completing (Filling-out) a Small Estate Affidavit.

Select a state-specific small affidavit from the list above. Due to each state’s unique requirements, completing the form for the state the decedent passed away in is is highly recommended. Once the form has been completed, all family member(s) listed on the affidavit should be informed of the portion of the property they rightly inherited by mail.

3. Sign + Notarize the Affidavit

Depending on the state in which the affidavit is created, the form may need to be signed in the presence of two (2) witnesses and/or a Notary Public. Even if not required by the state, having the completed affidavit be notarized can not damage the legality of the affidavit in any way – it simply provides legal proof that the signature(s) recorded on the form were made willingly.

4. Obtain the Death Certificate

Obtaining a Death Certificate.

A death certificate is a government-issued document that states when an individual passed away, where they died, and their cause of death. It is used to legally prove the familial relationship of the distributees to the decedent in order to acquire rights to the property. If the decedent died with other possessions of significant value, such as a motor vehicle or boat, obtaining titles to said property should be done before submitting the affidavit.

5. File the Affidavit

Filing a Small Estate Affidavit with the County Clerk.

With the signed affidavit in-hand along with the death certificate and any additional legal documents, the affidavit can be filed with the court. Once approved, the heirs will be given the authorization to collect the possessions of their deceased family member.

Small Estate Laws: By State

Alabama (§ 43-2-692)$25,00030 days
Alaska (§ 43-2-692)Vehicles – $100k; personal property – $50k30 days
Arizona (§ 14-3971)Personal property – $75k; real property – $100k30 days (personal property); 6 months (real property)
Arkansas (§ 28-41-101)$100,00045 days
California (§ 13000 – 13210)$150,00040 days
Colorado (§ 15-12-1201)$69k (if died in 2019) – $66k (if died in 2017-2018)10 days
Connecticut (§ 45a-273)$40,000No min. time
Delaware (§ 2306)$30,00030 days
Florida (§§ 735.201 – 735.302)$75,000Two (2) years (if over $75k)
Georgia (§ 7-1-239)No max value.90 days
Hawaii (§ 560:3-1201)$100,000No min. time
Idaho (§ 15-3-1201)$100,00045 days
Illinois (755 ILCS 5/9-8)$100,000No min. time
Indiana (§ 29-1-8-1)$50,00045 days
Iowa (§§ 635.1 to 635.13)$100,000No min. time
Kansas (§ 59-1507b)$40,000No min. time
Kentucky (§ 391.030 & § 395.455)$15,000No min. time
Louisiana (CCP 3421 to CCP 3434)$125,000No min. time
Maine (18-A, Part 12)$20,00030 days
Maryland (§§ 5-601 to 5-608)Spouses – $100k; non-spouses – $50kNo min. time
Massachusetts (MGL c. 190B, Section 3-1201)$25,00030 days
Michigan (§ 700.3982)$15,00028 days
Minnesota (§ 524.3-1201)$75,00030 days
Mississippi (§ 91-7-322)$50,00030 days
Missouri (§ 473.097)$40,00030 days
Montana (§§ 72-3-1101 to 72-3-1104)$50,00030 days
Nebraska (§§ 30-24,127 to 30-24,129)$50,00040 days
Nevada (NRS 146.080)Spouses – $100k; non-spouses – $25k40 days
New Hampshire (§ 553:32)$10,000No min. time
New Jersey (3B:10-3 & 3B:10-4)Spouses – $20k; non-spouses – $10kNo min. time
New Mexico (§ 45-3-1201)$50,00030 days
New York (§§ 1301 to 1312)$30,000No min. time
North Carolina (§§ 28A-25-1 to 28A-25-7)Spouses – $30k; non-spouses – $20k30 days
North Dakota (Chapter 30.1-23)$50,00030 days
Ohio (§ 2113.03)Spouses – $100k; non-spouses – $35kNo min. time
Oklahoma (OS 58 § 393OS 6 § 906)$20,00010 days
Oregon (§§ 114.505 to 114.535)Real property – $200k; personal property – $75k30 days
Pennsylvania (20 § 3102)$50,00060 days
Rhode Island (§ 33-24-1)$15,00030 days
South Carolina (§ 62-3-1201)$25,00030 days
South Dakota (§ 29A-3-1201)$50,00030 days
Tennessee (§§ 30-4-101 to 30-4-105)$50,00045 days
Texas (§ 205.001)$75,00030 days
Utah (§§ 75-3-1201 to 75-3-1204)$100,00030 days
Vermont (14 V.S.A. § 1902)$50,000No min. time
Virginia (§§ 64.2-600 to 64.2-605)$50,00060 days
Washington (RCW 11.62.010)$100,00040 days
West Virginia (§ 44-3A-5)$100,000No min. time
Wisconsin (§ 867.03)$50,000No min. time
Wyoming (§ 2-1-201)$200,00030 days