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Small Estate Affidavits

Small Estate Affidavits

Small Estate Affidavits provide beneficiaries/heirs the ability to transfer property of the deceased without opening a formal probate estate, or with shortened probate court proceedings, provided certain conditions are met. In Illinois, those conditions dictate that the estate must be valued at less than $100,000 and that the estate does not own any real estate. By avoiding probate court, small estates can be administered with less time and cost.

Six conditions that must be met before you may use a small estate affidavit:

  • The total amount of personal property in the estate must be worth less than $100,001;
  • The decedent did not own any real estate;
  • A probate court has not issued any “letters of office.” No application for letters of office can be pending or contemplated. A letter of office is issued by the probate court to the executor of an estate (as named in the Will, if any) and gives the executor the authority to distribute the estate;
  • If there is a Will, it must be filed with the clerk of the probate court. The a must believe that the Will on file with the court is valid and is the decedent’s last Will. The Will should be filed within 30 days of the decedent’s death;
  • The affidavit must not be aware of any disputes or conflicts relating to the Will or to the heirs of the decedent; and
  • There are no outstanding unpaid claims or contested claims against the decedent (other than those related to funeral expenses).

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