When your relative dies, and he happens to have a small amount of property, perhaps a house and lot, and some bank savings, then you are likely to inherit these properties, by virtue of blood relationship. However, in order for you to be able to do that, you need an affidavit of small estate. But what exactly is an affidavit of small estate? Here, we take a look on what requires one to be able to inherit a small estate and what needs for an estate to be able to pass as a small estate. Is there a need to consult a lawyer? How do you get one? But first, let us try to understand what an affidavit means.
An affidavit is any written sworn statement by someone stating that something is affirmed true. Let us compose some affidavits that may probably exist in some states. For example, an affidavit of citizenship, if there is such one that exist in your country, would mean that you sworn yourself in a written statement that you are a citizen of such country. Or an affidavit of relationship, for example, could mean that someone swears of his relationship with someone. Or another example would be an affidavit of ownership, which could mean that someone has sworn in a written statement that he has own something, a pen or a house.
By now, you have an idea as to what an affidavit means. Basically it is a document, usually typewritten, with a notary from a lawyer. There are different uses of an affidavit. In a court, it fortifies what a person, the affiant, claims (on paper) as opposed to what he or she claims orally. Anyone could have said that he owns this car and that, but that can’t pass as an affidavit because, while it was sworn, it was not written.
These are just some of the common affidavits found in your locality. But there are actually countless out there, depending on where you are coming from. And an affidavit of small estate is just one of them. So what exactly is an affidavit of small estate?
To understand what an affidavit of small estate is, one just need to be familiar with affidavit of inheritance. It is an affidavit used for someone who wants to claim from someone who just passed away.
A basic scenario would be, you have in your family who just died. It so happened that before his death, he did not leave a will to any of his family members. Also, he has some properties. The question now is, who will lay claim on the small property he left—the land, house, perhaps an old car, some bank savings. An affidavit of small estate is useful in this situation because of the fact that it is just a small estate. Also, the person who passed away did not leave any will. Here, the one applying for claims does not have to go to a probate court, which can be costly and time-consuming. But what is a probate court, and why does one should try as much to avoid going through it?
Probate court. A probate court is just like any other court, except that it only deals with debts and properties of someone who just recently died. In a sense, it is a special court. Other names for probate court are Orphan’s Court, Chancery Court, or Surrogate Court. But the sound of it, that it is a court, that one should go to a court makes it sound dreadful. And to do away with it, get an affidavit of small estate.
Some states or countries may still have to assess if an estate can pass for a small estate status. Otherwise, the case will be handled in a probate court. So you may need a lawyer for an assessment. The bigger the estate under question, the bigger the chance it will go to a probate court for verification. It is not for the inheritors to declare that an estate is large or small. So you just hope for the good. But if the estate or the property to inherit is enormous, going to a probate court should not be a concern.
So it was assessed that your dead parent’s property was a small estate. Are you ready for an affidavit of small estate? You know what an affidavit of small estate is. But where do you get one? In any affidavit, your only main concern is the signature of the lawyer. You can actually prepare it yourself. But in most cases, the one who makes the notary is also the one who prepares the affidavit. That will save you a lot of time and money; that is, if you can find one without going through some fixers. However, should you want to prepare the affidavit yourself, you can always download templates online. You can even make your own from scratch as long as it includes the following:
The format may vary from state to state. And some may even require that it should contain a jurat to verify that the affidavit was properly sworn. In some cases, an affidavit may be prepared by a solicitor or a barrister. The rates may vary, but it should not cost that much. Generally, an affidavit would cost just the same as buying a burger. Compared to the costly probate court, beneficiaries would simply choose the affidavit with hope.
Should you need help if an estate will pass as a small estate so you can enjoy the advantage of having only an affidavit to prepare, the lawyers can be your consultant. Some states will draw lines between a small and a large estate.
So there it is, a word or two on preparing an affidavit of small estate. By now, you should be already figuring out if your relative’s estate requires probate court to be settled when the time comes or not. In the meantime, try to check some of these affidavit of small estates online. They will help you give a glimpse as to what contents be included in a legal document such as this. They are editable. But your state may already have uploaded and published its own affidavit template. If that is the case, you may choose it over other templates from other states.