Small Estate Affidavit Law and Legal Definition

Small Estate laws were enacted in order to enable heirs to obtain property of the deceased without probate, or with shortened probate proceedings, provided certain conditions are met. It is an alternative to a formal probate of an estate when the assets, liens, and encumbrances of the estate are under a certain statutory amount, which varies by jurisdiction. Small Estate Affidavit is a method of small estate procedure for estates ranging from $1,000 to $100,000 or even higher, depending on state law. In some states an affidavit can be executed by the spouse and/or heirs of the deceased and this affidavit can be presented to the holder of property such as a bank to obtain property of the deceased. Other states require that the affidavit be filed with the Court. The main requirement before use of an affidavit is that the value of the personal and/or real property of the estate not exceed a certain value.