When a loved one dies, many people have to face the tedious procedure of accession to the heirship. This process takes a lot of time and requires additional funds. Family members and other heirs can fight for their rights through litigation. And it often turns out that the amount of the inherited property itself is much lower than the costs associated with it. In this case, it is possible to consider the option of obtaining an affidavit. Let us tell you about the specifics of this procedure and when it should be used.
What It Means to Obtain a Small Property Affidavit
It is not always the case that the deceased leaves behind a will. In this case, the inheritance is distributed according to the laws of the state where the person lived. When a will is made, everything seems a little easier but this is not entirely true. Certain complications can arise. Family members often try to contest wills, suing each other to defend their rights. This all takes a lot of resources. To prevent such scenarios from developing, a small estate affidavit can be drawn up. It allows you to start administering your estate without litigation.
This term refers to a written statement where a person states certain facts under oath. This affidavit must be notarized and can be used, for example, if the inherited property is estimated to be worth no more than $100,000. An affidavit can be used in some U.S. states. The conditions for its execution are often somewhat different.
Features of the Small Property Affidavit
It is recommended in the event that a rather small inheritance is involved. With an affidavit, the transfer of property is easier and quicker. This way, litigation can be avoided and costs can be saved.
Once the application is filed and approved, the heirs are allowed to use the property of the deceased. Another advantage of the procedure is its simplicity. Everything should take no more than two months. In order for the process to go smoothly, it is important to properly execute the free small estate affidavit, indicating the correct information, as well as to attach all the necessary copies of documents.
Will or Affidavit: What Option is Better
If we want to answer the above question, it is important to clearly understand how they differ from each other. If there is a will, the court must determine its validity, perform an inventory and valuation of assets, and supervise their distribution in accordance with the will of the deceased. If there are outstanding debts, the court may allocate assets to settle those debts. After the payment of debts, court fees, and taxes, the remaining assets are distributed among the heirs. The entire process can take many years.
If you use an affidavit, everything will be greatly accelerated. In an ideal situation, the application is processed in just a few days or weeks. If the property qualifies, it is better to use an affidavit to receive it. It is an acceptable alternative to a will.
When Can I Use a Small Property Affidavit?
A number of questions should be answered before determining whether this procedure can be taken advantage of:
- whether the deceased’s estate is considered small;
- whether there is a will;
- how much time has elapsed since the death.
The first step is to make sure that the dollar value of the estate does not exceed the state’s limit.
Typically, small estate affidavits are used if there is no will. However, some states allow them to be used in conjunction with a will. This should be clarified in advance.
Someone who decides to file a small estate affidavit may need to wait a certain amount of time before filing it. This time period is usually no longer than two months and is based on state laws.
Free Small Estate Affidavit: Where and How to Get It
It is recommended to go to the courthouse in the county where the deceased was domiciled to obtain the necessary form. However, you can also take a simpler approach. PandaDoc is a platform that has all the necessary templates. It is enough to use them, fill in the required data correctly, and indicate important information in accordance with the generally accepted rules.
The document requires you to enter information on the deceased, and other heirs. Since their signatures will be needed, then working with the online platform will be more convenient. It provides the possibility to send out the document to all heirs. Completed and signed according to all the rules of small estate affidavit form should be taken to the court and the fee should be paid. Then it is necessary to wait for a positive decision.
Advantages and Disadvantages of a Small Property Affidavit
The procedure’s advantages are as follows:
- it does not require considerable time and money expenditures;
- it can be used if the testator did not leave a will.
The disadvantages include the fact that if the deceased had debts, creditors can make claims against the estate. That is, an affidavit does not provide adequate protection.
Who is Eligible to File a Small Property Affidavit
The following persons are eligible to apply for a small estate affidavit:
- a spouse;
- children or their legal guardians;
- parents of the deceased.
It is important that all basic conditions regarding the total amount of assets are met. It must not exceed the limit set by the state.
Small Estate Affidavit Form: Filling It In Correctly
You can fill out the document yourself. For this purpose, it is necessary to use a certain algorithm of steps:
- Obtain the necessary form.
- Fill it in. As a rule, detailed instruction on how to fill in the form correctly is offered together with the form.
- Copies of documents should be added to the form:
- a copy of the death certificate;
- proof that the property belonged to the deceased;
- documents confirming the identity of the heir;
- property valuation data;
The signatures of all persons who may claim the property are also required (by signing the document, the heirs express their consent). It is recommended that the form and attachments be notarized. After submitting a printable small estate affidavit to the court, it is necessary to wait for the decision. It should be understood that the described actions may differ depending on the county or state.
It is not superfluous to consult with an attorney on inheritance cases, who will be able to assess the possibility of filing an affidavit.