Nebraska Small Estates Law

Wills and Estates – Small Estates – Nebraska

Small Estates General Summary: Small Estate laws were enacted in order to enable heirs to obtain property of the deceased without probate, or with shortened probate proceedings, provided certain conditions are met. Small estates can be administered with less time and cost. If the deceased had conveyed most property to a trust but there remains some property, small estate laws may also be available. Small Estate procedures may generally be used regardless of whether there was a Will. In general, the two forms of small estate procedures are recognized:
1. Small Estate Affidavit -Some States allow an affidavit to be executed by the spouse and/or heirs of the deceased and present the affidavit to the holder of property such as a bank to obtain property of the deceased. Other states require that the affidavit be filed with the Court. The main requirement before you may use an affidavit is that the value of the personal and/or real property of the estate not exceed a certain value.
2. Summary Administration -Some states allow a Summary administration. Some States recognize both the Small Estate affidavit and Summary Administration, basing the requirement of which one to use on the value of the estate. Example: If the estate value is 10,000 or less an affidavit is allowed but if the value is between 10,000 to 20,000 a summary administration is allowed.

Nebraska Summary:
Under Nebraska statute, where as estate has real estate valued at not more than $50,000, and/or personal property valued at not more than $50,000, an interested party may, thirty (30) days after the death of the decedent, issue a small estate affidavit to collect any debts owed to the decedent.

Nebraska Requirements:
Nebraska requirements are set forth in the statutes below.

30-24, 125 Collection of Personal Property by Affidavit

(a) Thirty days after the death of a decedent, any person indebted to the decedent or having possession of tangible personal property or an instrument evidencing a debt, obligation, stock, or chose in action belonging to the decedent shall make payment of the indebtedness or deliver the tangible personal property or an instrument evidencing a debt, obligation, stock, or chose in action to a person claiming to be the successor of the decedent upon being presented an affidavit made by or on behalf of the successor stating:
(1) the value of all of the personal property in the decedent’s estate, wherever located, less liens and encumbrances, does not exceed fifty thousand dollars;
(2) thirty days have elapsed since the death of the decedent as shown in a certified or authenticated copy of the decedent’s death certificate attached to the affidavit;
(3) the claiming successor’s relationship to the decedent or, if there is no relationship, the basis of the successor’s claim to the personal property;
(4) the person or persons claiming as successors under the affidavit swear or affirm that all statements in the affidavit are true and material and further acknowledge that any false statement may subject the person or persons to penalties relating to perjury under section 28-915;
(5) no application or petition for the appointment of a personal representative is pending or has been granted in any jurisdiction; and
(6) the claiming successor is entitled to payment or delivery of the property.

(b) A transfer agent of any security shall change the registered ownership on the books of a corporation from the decedent to the successor or successors upon the presentation of an affidavit as provided in subsection (a).

(c) In addition to compliance with the requirements of subsection (a), a person seeking a transfer of a certificate of title to a motor vehicle, motorboat, all-terrain vehicle, utility-type vehicle, or minibike shall be required to furnish to the Department of Motor Vehicles an affidavit showing applicability of this section and compliance with the requirements of this section to authorize the department to issue a new certificate of title.

Source; Laws 1974, LB 354, § 203, UPC § 3-1201; Laws 1996, LB 909, § 1; Laws 1999, LB 100, § 4; Laws 1999, LB 141, § 6; Laws 2004, LB 560, § 2; Laws 2009, LB35, § 22; Laws 2010, LB650, § 2.

30-24,126. 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 he dealt with a personal representative of the decedent. He 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.
Source: Laws 1974, LB 354, § 204, UPC § 3-1202.

30-24,127. Small estates; summary administrative 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 30-24,128.
Source: Laws 1974, LB 354, § 205, UPC § 3-1203.

30-24,128. 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 30-24,127 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 and 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 he is aware whose claims are neither paid nor barred and has furnished a full account in writing of his 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 30-24,117.
Source: Laws 1974, LB 354, § 206, UPC § 3-1204.

30-24,129. Succession to real property by affidavit.

(a) Thirty days after the death of a decedent, any person claiming as successor to the decedent’s interest in real property in this state may file or cause to be filed on his or her behalf, with the register of deeds office of a county in which the real property of the decedent that is the subject of the affidavit is located, an affidavit describing the real property owned by the decedent and the interest of the decedent in the property. The affidavit shall be signed by all persons claiming as successors or by parties legally acting on their behalf and shall be prima facie evidence of the facts stated in the affidavit. The affidavit shall state:
(1) the value of the decedent’s interest in all real property in the decedent’s estate located in this state does not exceed fifty thousand dollars. The value of the decedent’s interest shall be determined from the value of the property as shown on the assessment rolls for the year in which the decedent died less real estate taxes and interest thereon if any is due at the time of death;
(2) thirty days have elapsed since the death of the decedent as shown in a certified or authenticated copy of the decedent’s death certificate attached to the affidavit;
(3) no application or petition for the appointment of a personal representative is pending or has been granted in any jurisdiction;
(4) the claiming successor is entitled to the real property by reason of the homestead allowance, exempt property allowance, or family allowance, by intestate succession, or by devise under the will of the decedent;
(5) the claiming successor has made an investigation and has been unable to determine any subsequent will;
(6) no other person has a right to the interest of the decedent in the described property;
(7) the claiming successor’s relationship to the decedent and the value of the entire estate of the decedent; and
(8) the person or persons claiming as successors under the affidavit swear or affirm that all statements in the affidavit are true and material and further acknowledge that any false statement may subject the person or persons to penalties relating to perjury under section 28-915.

(b) The recorded affidavit and certified or authenticated copy of the decedent’s death certificate shall also be recorded by the claiming successor in any other county in this state in which the real property of the decedent that is the subject of the affidavit is located.
Source: Laws 1999, LB 100, § 2; Laws 2009, LB35, § 23; Laws 2014, LB693, § 1.

30-24,130. Effect of affidavit.

(a) A successor named in an affidavit under section 30-24,129 shall have the same protection as a distributee who has received a deed of distribution from a personal representative as provided in section 30-24,106.

(b) A purchaser of real property from or lender to a person named as a successor in an affidavit under section 30-24,129 shall have the same protection as a person purchasing from or lending to a distributee who has received a deed of distribution from a personal representative as provided in section 30-24,108.

(c) Nothing in this section affects or prevents any proceeding to enforce any mortgage, pledge, or other lien upon the real property described in the affidavit.

Source: Laws 1999, LB 100, § 3.


Inside Nebraska Small Estates Law