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Wills, trusts, and estates

small estate probate

In many states the law provides an informal means or process for administering small estates, as defined by the state’s statutes.

For example, in some states an estate under a certain value may be distributed using an affidavit known as a small estate affidavit that is signed by the persons to whom the estate’s assets are to be distributed and two disinterested witnesses.

And other states have a simplified small estate process under which the successor to an interest in real property may petition the court to transfer the real property and recognize the transfer of personal property.

Laws vary from state to state and a state’s informal process for administering a small estate is usually located in the state’s statutes—often in the estates code or probate code.

In Texas, the Estates Code provides for a simplified process to administer small estates. This process is often utilized when the value of the estate does not exceed certain thresholds and is designed to make the probate process easier and less costly. Specifically, Texas allows for the use of a Small Estate Affidavit when the value of the estate, excluding homestead and exempt property, is $75,000 or less. The affidavit must be signed by all heirs and filed with the probate court. If approved by the court, it serves as evidence to collect the assets of the deceased without formal administration. Additionally, Texas has a simplified court procedure for small estates that can be used to transfer title to a decedent's homestead to the heirs, as well as recognize the transfer of other personal property. This process involves filing an application with the court and may require a hearing. It is important for individuals to consult with an attorney to determine eligibility for these small estate procedures and to ensure proper completion and filing of the necessary documents.

Legal articles related to this topic

Small Estate Procedures: Streamlining Asset Distribution Without Probate
When a loved one passes away, the process of distributing their assets can often be cumbersome, especially when dealing with the intricacies of probate court. Many states recognize that smaller estates shouldn't have to undergo the same procedures.