What Is a Small Estate Affidavit?


A major part of estate planning is minimizing the impact that probate has on the distribution of your estate. In some cases, this means using special tactics to handle certain aspects of your estate, but in some cases, an estate may be small enough to be able to avoid probate altogether.

In these cases, a small estate affidavit may be filed by your estate’s administrator after you pass away.

The Small Estate Affidavit in Illinois

A small estate affidavit is a document that allows a decedent’s property to be transferred without having to put it through probate. To use a small estate affidavit in Illinois, the estate must meet a few requirements.

The administrator is required to swear that all conditions are met, and they’ll need to determine how assets are to be distributed. Upon filling out the affidavit, they’ll be able to use it to get financial institutions and other property holders to turn over the deceased’s assets.

Qualifications for Using the Small Estate Affidavit in Illinois?

In order to qualify for the small estate affidavit, an estate must meet the following requirements.

Worth $100,000 or Less

First of all, the total value of the estate must be $100,000 or less. If it’s worth more, it will need to go through probate if it’s not managed by other means.

No Real Estate

In addition, the estate must not contain any real estate unless it was already transferred to someone else upon death.

No Letters of Office

“Letters of Office” is an official document that states that a probate case has been opened. If no one has obtained Letters of Office, then a small estate affidavit can be filed.

Will Filed in 30 Days

If there is a will, it should be filed with the county clerk within 30 days of the decedent’s death.

No Disputes Over the Estate

Finally, there must be no disputes over the disposition of the estate. This includes disputes between heirs as well as over unpaid claims from creditors. If a dispute arises, it will usually need to be handled through probate.

How to File a Small Estate Affidavit in Illinois

Your estate’s administrator will need to follow these steps after you pass away in order to file a small estate affidavit.

1. Gather Important Documents

First, they’ll need to gather important documents and information. These include:

  • Their name, address, phone number, and relationship to you.
  • Your name, date of death, and former address.
  • Descriptions and valuations of assets.
  • Funeral and burial expenses, surviving spouse award, and outstanding debts.
  • Names and addresses of surviving spouse and dependents.
  • Information on how the estate will be distributed to heirs.
  • Copies of the death certificate and will.

2. Fill, Sign, and Copy the Affidavit

Next, they’ll need to fill, sign, and make copies of the affidavit. A certified copy of the will and a copy of the death certificate will also need to be attached.

3. Show the Affidavit to Property Holders

Finally, the affidavit can be shown to banks and other property holders to force them to give away the decedent’s assets. Should the property holder refuse, the assistance of an attorney may be necessary?

To learn how a small estate affidavit may be applicable to your estate, contact Hart David Carson LLP today.

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