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When a person in Texas dies and the size of the entire estate is less than $50,000, the estate may qualify for a simplified process for administering small estates. This process requires much less documentation and time.
This procedure involves the use of a Texas Small Estate Affidavit. A Texas Small Estate Affidavit is a sworn statement signed under oath by an heir or heirs of an estate attesting that the estate’s value is worth less than $50,000.
A Texas Small Estate Affidavit is a device used to distribute assets that belonged to a Decedent in a summary distribution manner to survivors without full probate administration.
The Texas Affidavit of Small Estate is extremely useful when heirs need quick access to the deceased’s bank accounts and securities to make funeral arrangements.
The Texas Small Estate Affidavit should be prepared by the executor of the deceased’s will or the person with the most knowledge of the deceased’s assets. If the Decedent dies without a will, then the spouse and heirs must prepare the Texas Affidavit of Small Estate.
Information and documentation needed when drafting a Texas Small Estate Affidavit:
- Thirty days have elapsed since the passing of the Decedent.
- An itemized list of the fair market value of the assets.
- Copies of the Death Certificate and social security card.
- Confirmation that the deceased is a former resident of the county in Texas.
- The status at death, intestate or testate.
- List of all heirs and addresses for each.
- A list of all unpaid expenses and debts of the Decedent, including funeral costs.
The Texas Small Estate Affidavit is used to inform a probate court that a particular estate meets the requirements of Texas Small Estate laws. Texas caps the value of a small estate at $50,000 in real and personal property.
A Texas Small Estate Affidavit is filed in the Texas Court where the Decedent lived at the time of death. It can also be filed in any county in Texas where the Decedent owned property. The Texas Affidavit of Small Estate informs the Court of the value of the deceased’s assets.
Once the Texas Affidavit of Small Estate is filed, the Texas Court issues an order approving the Affidavit and transferring the property to the heirs.