Legal Guides

What Is A Small Estate Affidavit? A Brief Guide

small estate affidavit

A small real estate affidavit is a form that you can complete in order to speed up the settlement of a small estate via probate. It is a term that you could have heard from time to time but you don’t know its meaning. 

With a small real estate affidavit, you will eliminate the need for a family member or spouse to go through the official probate process that is supervised by the court of law while distributing the properties of a loved one ton his heirs and creditors. The form is filed and completed in a local jurisdiction where the individual passed and the location of the property. 

What Is A Small Estate Affidavit? 

The way states define a small estate affidavit varies from one to another. In some states, it can be as low as 10,000 dollars while others go as high as 275,000 dollars. The market average for a small estate affidavit is $50,000. 

However, it is good to confirm how your state defines a small estate affidavit before you complete the form. It is also good to know the properties that qualify to be part of the small estate affidavit. For instance, some states exclude vehicles from the small estate laws. 

The Use Of A Small Estate Affidavit 

There are two conditions that you need to meet in order to use a small real estate affidavit. First, the family member should have passed on and the estate asset value meets the requirements of the small estate under the state law. 

Secondly, the deceased named the individual who is filling the small estate affidavit application form as the executor. Any process that does not meet these criteria is illegal and can be challenged in a court of law. 

Where do I get a small estate affidavit? In case you have any questions, it is wise to contact an attorney in the individual state in which the final estate matters shall be resolved. There are specific individuals who can fill a small estate affidavit. 

The list comprises domestic partners, spouse, children or the guardian of the minor kids and the parent of the deceased in case the deceased is their child and has no spouse.  If you don’t fall among the above people, it will not be possible to fill a small real estate affidavit. 

What Information Do You Need To Complete A Small Estate Affidavit? 

You can get the small real estate affidavit form from your attorney. Some states have also availed small estate affidavit forms online at no cost. Here is the information that you will require in order to complete this form; 

  • Your full name 
  • Your mailing address and address if they are different 
  • The name, former address, and date of passing of the deceased 
  • List of assets with values and descriptions 
  • Payment confirmation for all the burial and funeral expenses 
  • Address and name of the surviving children and spouse 
  • Any other info that the state requires 

Some states have different names for the small estate affidavit. However, it is basically a legal document that authorizes a person to claim assets once they lose their loved ones. 

Do You Need The Probate Process?

The main advantage of a small estate affidavit is that it saves you from the long probate process. You could be wondering whether you should bother yourself with the probate process yet you can go for the small estate affidavit. 

From the small estate affidavit definition, you know that it only covers up to a certain value. Therefore, if the value exceeds what the state accepts for a small estate affidavit, you have to go through the probate process. 

Therefore, you should look at your eligibility before determining where you need to start with the claim. Those who reside in Florida have a couple of options that they can use. It is not a small estate affidavit but rather a two process that is referred to as Disposition without Administration and Summary Administration. 

However, this process has a rather strict process. You cannot qualify unless you paid for the medical expenses or final funeral expenses of the descendant. 

If the estates that you are managing are below &75,000, you have the alternative of a Summary Administration. However, it should be over two years from the time the descendant passed on. In this probate, you petition the court to release the assets of the descendant to those who are legally entitled.

You also have to prove to the court that all the debts of the deceased person have been settled. If not, you may become liable to all the debts and claims that are against the estate of the dependent. However, the liability won’t be higher than the amount of money that was distributed to you initially. 

Small Estate Affidavit Attorney 

It is not a must for you to hire a probate law company from the county where the individual owned property or died. For example, a probate law firm from Miami can handle probate cases throughout the state of Florida. 

Since the Florida probate process is electronic, you submit it to court via email or through the secure e-filing portal of the court. Appearance in court can either be done through video conferencing or telephonically. 

Therefore, it is not a must for the lawyer to make physical appearances in the courtroom. Therefore, the law firm can handle the case efficiently and quickly from anywhere.


With all this information, you now have a clear understanding of what is a small estate affidavit. You also know when to use it and when to go for a probate process. However, you have to confirm with your state on the exact requirements of a small estate affidavit. This is because these requirements tend to change from one state to another.

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