Guiding You Through Complex Legal Matters

Guiding You Through Complex Legal Matters

Do you need a small estate affidavit in your estate plan?

On Behalf of | Jun 22, 2023 | Probate

If you are in the process of estate planning, you may wonder whether or not to include a small estate affidavit in your plan. The role of this document provides a quicker, less costly means of distributing the deceased individual’s assets when handling a small estate. Especially relevant in Texas, it helps streamline the probate process.

Although a small estate affidavit has its benefits, only qualified estates can use it. Understanding what it is and if your estate can qualify is an important step in the planning process.

A small estate affidavit

A small estate affidavit is a legal document that certifies the decedent’s estate qualifies as a ‘small estate’ under Texas law. It allows the heirs of the decedent to collect their inheritance without going through the probate court, thereby speeding up the asset distribution process.

The qualifications in Texas

Specifically in Texas, an estate can use a small estate affidavit if the value of the estate, excluding homestead property and exempt property, does not exceed $75,000. Moreover, the decedent must not have left a will, and there should be no pending or completed application for the appointment of a personal representative for the decedent’s estate.

The impact on your plan

Incorporating a small estate affidavit into your plan can provide a convenient path for your heirs if your estate qualifies under the ‘small estate’ classification. It can reduce the burden of lengthy court proceedings and reduce the cost associated with the probate process.

The potential drawbacks

Although a small estate affidavit simplifies the process, it has its limitations. Notably, it does not allow for the transfer of real estate, except for the decedent’s homestead. Also, not all financial institutions accept small estate affidavits, which can complicate the process of distributing funds.

A small estate affidavit expedites the process of distributing the decedent’s assets to the rightful heirs, alleviating the need for lengthy probate proceedings. However, carefully consider its limitations and potential implications to make the most of its advantages and ensure a smooth transition of assets upon death.