Montana Small Estate Affidavit

The Montana Small Estate Affidavit (for Collection of Personal Property of the Decedent) is a legal document that gives the rightful heirs to an individual that recently passed (the decedent) the right to collect the deceased individual’s belongings. Once the form has been completed and copies have been made, the form can be displayed to those that are in possession of the decedent’s property to collect it from them. It can be used for collecting both material and non-material property. If the estate is valued in excess of $50,000, this form may not be used as it will subsequently not reflect the state law definition of a “small estate”, i.e. an estate valued at $50,000 or less.

Montana’s Supreme Court created a very handy guide for those in the process of collecting personal property from an estate. The guide can be downloaded here: “How to Use an Affidavit to Get Personal Property from an Estate.”

Additional Considerations

Current Small Estate Affidavit laws are contained within the Montana Code Annotated 2017, specifically, Title 72, Chapter 3, Part 11, “Collection of Personal Property by Affidavit and Summary Administration Procedure for Small Estates“.

These laws replaced the previous laws; Section  72-3-1101 the Montana Code Annotated 2015. As such, it is vital the current laws are referred to as the previous laws are no longer applicable.

Laws & Required Conditions

Laws: §§ 72-3-1101 to 72-3-1104

Maximum Estate Value: $50,000

Required Conditions: As stipulated by § 72-3-1101, an individual may exercise their right to use a Small Estate Affidavit provided that specific conditions outlined by state law are met, some of which include:

  • Only personal property is included in the estate claim.
  • The individual filing the affidavit is entitled to the property they wish to have transferred to them.
  • It is utilized only after at least thirty (30) days since the passing of the Decedent.
  • The affidavit must only be used if a personal representative will not be or is not already appointed.