If the size of your estate is less than an amount set by state law, your estate may qualify for a simplified proceeding for small estates. These proceedings require less paperwork, cost less and take less time.
Small estate administration is an alternative to a formal probate of an estate when the assets, liens, and encumbrances of the estate are under a certain statutory amount, which varies by jurisdiction. It is a faster, easier, alternative to the probate process, involving less paperwork and delay. It involves the use of a small-estate affidavit for estates ranging from $1,000 to $100,000 or even higher, depending on state law. This approach is particularly advantageous where the bulk of the estate is in a trust and only an automobile or small bank account is in the name of the decedent at the time of death. No court administration is required.
The administration of the estate may be commenced a certain time after death, usually 30 days, and the appointment of a personal representative is made. An inventory and appraisal must be filed with the Court. The personal representative, after giving any required notice to creditors, may immediately disburse and distribute the estate to the entitled persons. A verified statement to close and a full account in writing must be filed with the court and copied served on all distributees and creditors whose claims are neither paid nor barred.