Pennsylvania Small Estate Affidavit

With the exclusion of real property, a person may petition the court with a Pennsylvania Small Estates Affidavit to transfer a deceased individual’s personal property (the Decedent) into their possession. The court where this must take place must be in the division of the county where the deceased individual (the Decedent) lived at the time of his or her death. Moreover, the estate in question must represent a maximum value of $50,000.

Additional Considerations

The Affidavit provided here only addresses the distribution of the Decedent’s personal property. Other types of property may be claimed pursuant to relevant state laws (i.e., the provisions found in § 3101), noted in the table below:

Type of PropertyMaximum amount that can be claimedState laws
Wages, salary, or employee benefits due $10,00020 § 3101(a)
Deposit account$10,00020 § 3101(b)
Patient's care account$10,00020 § 3101(c)
Life insurance payable to the estate$11,00020 § 3101(d)
Unclaimed property$11,00020 § 3101(e)

Another consideration that should be kept in mind relates to the improper distribution of the estate. As Statute 20 § 3102 states, any qualified party has the right to file a petition to revoke the court order regarding the estate if they have legal grounds to believe an improper distribution took place. They must make the petition within one (1) year of a court order pertaining to the distribution of the Decedent’s estate.

Laws & Required Conditions

Laws: 20 § 3102

Maximum Estate Value: $50,000

Required Conditions:

  • Must be filed a minimum of sixty (60) days after the decedent has passed
  • The Affidavit must be filed in a court in the division of the county where the Decedent was domiciled when they passed away,
  • It is unlawful to use the Affidavit for the purpose of transferring real estate or other property other than personal property, and
  • The petitioner must be qualified under state law stipulations to obtain the Decedent’s property.