Small Estate Affidavits for Decedents Who Lived the Simple Life

Small Estate Affidavits for Decedents Who Lived the Simple Life

Elder couple walkingLarge estates can become extremely complicated when loved ones pass away if thorough planning has not been completed. But smaller estates can often avoid the hassles of a lengthy probate process. While many individuals spend their lives accumulating significant amounts of land, real estate, collectibles and other items of monetary value, others either downsize to achieve a simpler life or never establish a large estate to begin with. For deceased individuals who did not have a high value estate at the time of death, a small estate affidavit might be a viable option to avoid probate. Eligibility requirements must be met for an estate to qualify, however.

Eligibility Requirements for Small Estate Affidavits

Since a small estate affidavit can minimize the complications involved with estate distribution, it would likely be the standard when loved ones pass away if not for eligibility requirements. To qualify for a small estate affidavit and the benefits that coincide in Illinois:

  • The value of the estate must be less than $100,000 and all estate assets must be known.
  • All funeral expenses must be paid in full.
  • There must be no debtors that exist against the property and no other claimants to the property may exist.
  • The will, if one exists, must be uncontested.
  • There must be nobeneficiaries who are disabled or minors.
  • There is no estate proceeding already pending.

Ultimately, a small estate affidavit is designed to be used for uncomplicated, routine estates with little to no debt.

Transferring Property with a Small Estate Affidavit

Unlike property that is included in wills and trusts, assets that are included in a qualifying small estate do not have filings with a court or judge. This can make property transfer much easier when a loved one dies. In most cases, property transfers can be completed simply by presenting the affidavit to the entity that holds the asset directly.

Liability and Small Estate Affidavits in Illinois

Because the small estate affidavit is deemed to be a sworn statement that is made by the affiant under oath, it should be prepared carefully to ensure accuracy. False statements or omissions can result in charges of perjury as well as financial liability for damages incurred, attorney’s fees and other costs associated with recovery.

Many individuals who have lost a loved one already have a significant amount of obligations to contend with, and the probate process often only adds to their worries. A small estate affidavit can help minimize complications.

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