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Protecting Your Legacy

How can an affidavit for a small estate help if there’s no will?

by | Jan 25, 2017 | Probate & Estate Administration |

Losing a loved one can be tough no matter what the circumstances. However, if your loved one passed away in Texas without a will, this can complicate matters more from a legal standpoint. What exactly happens to your loved one’s assets and how is the process handled. In limited cases, an affidavit for a small estate may be a helpful option for finalizing your deceased family member’s affairs.

What is an affidavit for a small estate?

A small estate affidavit represents a middle-of-the-road solution for addressing a person’s affairs if he or she dies intestate – or, without a will. This solution is faster and less expensive than the alternative option of the determination of heirship, as the courts in Texas do not usually require hearings to take place for small estate affidavits. However, a small estate affidavit is more costly than the option of an affidavit of heirship because small estate affidavits require a probate attorney’s services and a court filing.

How do you quality for an affidavit for a small estate?

Affidavits are sworn statements that are filed with the court. Several requirements must be met in order for the small estate affidavit option to work following the death of a loved one. First, that family member must have passed away with no will. Second, homestead property must be the only real property needing to be transferred from your loved one’s estate.

In addition, this transfer must be made to an heir who was living with your loved one and who is able to obtain a homestead exemption. Furthermore, all estate property besides the decedent’s homestead has to be worth under $50,000, and the estate has to be solvent; in other words, the assets must exceed the debts.

What are some other requirements for an affidavit for a small estate?

It is mandatory for the affidavit for a small estate to list every piece of your deceased loved one’s property, which includes community property. All debts that the estate owes must be listed as well. In addition, the affidavit has to list the deceased person’s family and marital history along with a breakdown showing the quantity of the estate to which every heir is entitled. A knowledgeable attorney can guide you through the small estate affidavit process with confidence.