Illinois Small Estate Affidavit | Form RT OPR 31.16


The Illinois Small Estate Affidavit (Form RT OPR 31.16) grants a person called the “petitioner” to have access to the estate of a person (typically a family member), that recently died while living in the state of Illinois. The petitioner is commonly the rightful heir (as stated by a will) to the person that died (who is called the “decedent”). The person completing the form is called the petitioner because they have the ability to petition (which a fancy word for formally requesting something) those that are in the possession of the belongings of the decedent. Examples of parties that would be holding the decedent’s belongings include banks and other financial institutions. In order to be fully completed, the affidavit requires the petitioner to provide vital information as their personal details, a justification of their claim to the estate, and an acknowledgment that they have duly upheld the requirements set out by state law regarding this process.

Laws: 755 ILCS 5/9-8


Maximum Estate Value: $100,000

Required Conditions: Once the affidavit is completed, it must be filed with the appropriate county court. The court regulates and determines all small estate proceedings by ensuring if the following is true:

  • The value of the decedent’s real and personal estate does not surpass $100,000.
  • No unpaid claim to the state exists, or if there are claims, they have been listed in the affidavit.
  • No taxes related to the decedent’s death need to be paid.
  • The surviving spouse or child, if any, is not entitled to any awards as provided by the Illinois Probate Act, or if they are entitled, this has been noted in the affidavit.
  • All heirs and legatees (an individual who receives a legacy) of the decedent have given written consent to the distribution of the estate.
  • Each distributee has given a bond in the value of their distributive share, as 755 ILCS 5/9-8(f) outlines.
  • The petitioner has published a notice (with the first publication made not less than thirty (30) days before the court hearing) once a week for three (3) successive weeks in a newspaper published in the county where the petition has been filed that informs of:
    1. The decedent’s death.
    2. The filing of the affidavit.
    3. The time, date, time, and place of the hearing of the petition.