Small Estate Affidavit

When an individual dies without a Will, the probate process can be time consuming and expensive. There are times when a full probate administration may not be necessary or the assets are just too small to constitute the financial expense of a probate proceeding. In Texas, there is a Small Estate Affidavit that allows the transfer of assets to the heirs without the necessity of going through an administration. The Small Estate Affidavit has certain requirements that must be met, but otherwise is a quick and less expensive way to wind up the affairs of the Estate. 

What Is A Small Estate Affidavit In Texas?

A Small Estate Affidavit is a type of probate proceeding in Texas for those estates where the individual died owning assets worth less than $75,000 (not including homestead or exempt property) and did not have a Will. The Affidavit is a document that lists all of the assets and their values, the heirs and their shares, and any debts owed by the Decedent. The Affidavit then gets filed with the Court and an Order shall be signed if approved by the Judge.  This type of proceeding does not require a Court hearing.

Where Do You Get A Small Estate Affidavit In Texas?

An Attorney can assist you in preparing a Small Estate Affidavit. In addition, many of the court websites have a Small Estate Affidavit form that can be downloaded and completed. If you are unsure, please an Experienced Probate Attorney to assist you.

What Are The Requirements For A Small Estate Affidavit?

Pursuant to the Texas Estates Code Sec. 205.002 a Small Estate Affidavit must be sworn to by:

  • two disinterested witnesses;
  • each distributee of the estate who has legal capacity; and
  • if warranted by the facts, the natural guardian or next of kin of any minor distributee or the guardian of any other incapacitated distributee.

A Small Estate Affidavit must also include:

  • all known estate assets and liabilities;
  • the name and address of each distributee; and
  • family history concerning heirship.

Additionally, all of the assets must exceed the known liabilities. This means the value of what the Decedent owned must be greater than the outstanding debts at the time of death.

What Documents Are Required For A Small Estate Affidavit?

When filing the Small Estate Affidavit, you must include a proposed Order and a copy of the death certificate. In addition, you should have enough detail regarding the assets, debts, and the family and marital history of the Decedent to be able to complete the Affidavit appropriately.

How Much Does It Cost To Get A Small Estate Affidavit In Texas?

Each county has its own filing fee schedule, so court costs can vary. If you prepare the document on your own, you should expect to pay between $250 and $400.00 in fees. If, however, you choose to hire an attorney to assist you, the cost can be between $500 to $1,000.

A Small Estate Affidavit is a great tool for those estates that involve a small bank account. If you are unsure whether the Estate qualifies for a Small Estate Affidavit, contact an Experienced Probate Attorney to schedule a consultation

Does A Small Estate Affidavit Have To Be Notarized in Texas?

Yes. According to Texas Estates Codes section 205.002 an affidavit must be sworn to by two disinterested witnesses and the distributees or heirs. In order to swear to a document the person signing must do so in front of a Notary Public.

If your loved one passed without a Will and there are very few assets in the Estate, contact the Law Office of Ronda S Haynes, PLLC to schedule your consultation to see if a Small Estate Affidavit is right for you. Our Experienced Probate Attorney can help you determine the right path for your circumstances and explain the process fully so you are confident in your choice. If you have more questions concerning Probate Procedures please refer to our Probate Frequently Asked Questions page. Be sure to read through our Blog for more information.

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