A Small Estate Affidavit is a legal document filed with the probate court to establish ownership of property when the original owner dies. Illinois statute 755 Ill. Comp. Stat. § 5/25-1 allows legal heirs and family members, both biological or non-biological, to file a small estate affidavit that contains the time and place of death and the names of the legal heirs and family members of the deceased to claim the deceased’s estate.
When someone dies without a will it is called “intestate.” Illinois has “Intestacy Laws” to determine who will receive a deceased person’s assets in the absence of a valid will. Each state can establish its own intestacy laws. If you die without a will in Illinois, your estate and all decisions about your estate will go to your closest relatives. Your assets that fall under intestacy laws include property, bank accounts and retirement savings that you own outright in only your name, and are not co-owned with anyone else.
A Small Estate Affidavit is used when the deceased did not leave a will but had property and assets that need to be dispersed. If the estate is worth less than $100,000 and contains no real estate, the affidavit will be used to avoid probate and going to court. With a Small Estate Affidavit, property and assets can be distributed cheaper and faster than through probate court.
If a family member died without a will, Illinois has laws to protect the deceased and their heirs, and make sure any assets are fairly distributed. To talk to a probate, trust and estates attorney, contact the Estate & Probate Legal Group at (630) 800-0112.