Hawaii Small Estate Summary


Wills and Estates – Small Estates – Hawaii

§ 560:3-1201. Collection of personal property by affidavit.

(a) Any person indebted to the decedent or having possession of tangible personal property or an instrument evidencing a debt, obligation, stock, chose in action, or other intangible personal property belonging to the decedent shall make payment of the indebtedness or deliver the tangible personal property or an instrument evidencing the debt, obligation, stock, chose in action, or other intangible personal property to a person or persons claimed to be the successor or successors of the decedent or to the department of human services where the department has a claim against the estate pursuant to section 346-15 or 346-37, upon being presented a death certificate for the decedent and an affidavit made by or on behalf of the claimed successor or successors or the department of human services stating that:

(1) The gross value of the decedent’s estate in this State does not exceed $100,000; except that any motor vehicles registered in the decedent’s name may be transferred regardless of value pursuant to this section;

(2) No application or petition for the appointment of a personal representative is pending or has been granted in this State; and

(3)(A) The claimed successor or successors are entitled to the property and explaining the relationship of the claimed successor or successors to the decedent; or

(B) The department of human services has a claim against the estate pursuant to section 346-15 or 346-37.

The affidavit of the department of human services shall have priority over any other claim presented pursuant to this section.

(b) Upon presentation of an affidavit meeting the requirements of subsection (a), any person having legal authority to issue a certificate or other evidence of ownership of tangible personal property or a debt, obligation, stock, chose in action, or other intangible personal property belonging to the decedent shall change the registered ownership of the decedent’s interest in the property from the decedent to the decedent’s claimed successor or successors and shall issue a certificate or other document evidencing the ownership of the property by the decedent’s claimed successor or successors.

§ 560:3-1202. Effect of affidavit.

The person paying, delivering, transferring, or issuing personal property or the evidence thereof pursuant to affidavit is discharged and released to the same extent as if that person dealt with a personal representative of the decedent. That person is not required to see to the application of the personal property or evidence thereof or to inquire into the truth of any statement in the affidavit. If any person to whom an affidavit is delivered refuses to pay, deliver, transfer, or issue any personal property or evidence thereof, it may be recovered or its payment, delivery, transfer, or issuance compelled upon proof of their right in a proceeding brought for the purpose by or on behalf of the persons entitled thereto. Any person to whom payment, delivery, transfer or issuance is made is answerable and accountable therefor to any personal representative of the estate or to any other person having a superior right.

§ 560:3-1203. Small estates; summary administration procedure.

If it appears from the inventory and appraisal that the value of the entire estate, less liens and encumbrances, does not exceed homestead allowance, exempt property, family allowance, costs and expenses of administration, reasonable funeral expenses, and reasonable and necessary medical and hospital expenses of the last illness of the decedent, the personal representative, without giving notice to creditors, may immediately disburse and distribute the estate to the persons entitled thereto and file a closing statement as provided in section 560:3-1204.

§ 560:3-1204. Small estates; closing by sworn statement of personal representative.

(a) Unless prohibited by order of the court and except for estates being administered by supervised personal representatives, a personal representative may close an estate administered under the summary procedures of section 560:3-1203 by filing with the court, at any time after disbursement and distribution of the estate, a verified statement stating that:

(1) To the best knowledge of the personal representative, the value of the entire estate, less liens and encumbrances, did not exceed homestead allowance, exempt property, family allowance, costs and expenses of administration, reasonable funeral expenses, and reasonable, necessary medical and hospital expenses of the last illness of the decedent;

(2) The personal representative has fully administered the estate by disbursing and distributing it to the persons entitled thereto; and

(3) The personal representative has sent a copy of the closing statement to all distributees of the estate and to all creditors or other claimants of whom the personal representative is aware whose claims are neither paid nor barred and has furnished a full account in writing of the administration to the distributees whose interests are affected.

(b) If no actions or proceedings involving the personal representative are pending in the court one year after the closing statement is filed, the appointment of the personal representative terminates.

(c) A closing statement filed under this section has the same effect as one filed under section 560:3-1003.

§ 560:3-1205. Estates of $100,000 or less; clerk of court to administer.

If a person dies leaving property in this State of a total value not exceeding $100,000, and a personal representative of the estate has not been appointed in the State, the clerk of the court of the judicial circuit in which the decedent was residing or domiciled at the time of the decedent’s death or left property may, upon the verified petition of the clerk or of any interested person, obtain an order authorizing the clerk to administer the estate, and, as the personal representative, the clerk shall collect and receive the property and administer the same. The order may be made without notice or hearing, at the discretion of the court. Except as otherwise specifically required or authorized by law or where the clerk may be interested as an heir, or devisee, no clerk of any court shall act as personal representative of any estate where the value of the same is in excess of $100,000. No fees shall be allowed the clerk, except as set forth in section 560:3-1211.