WATCH: What Is A Small Estate Affidavit?

  • Probate

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. A Small Estate Affidavit is often used when the deceased did not leave a will but had property and assets that need to be dispersed.

WATCH: Estate Planning Attorney Mario Godoy Explains What Is a Small Estate Affidavit?


In this video, we are going to discuss what a small estate affidavit is.
A small estate affidavit is one way to transfer your loved one’s property when they pass. It allows you to do that without having to go through Probate Court. A small estate affidavit can be used whether or not your loved one had a will.
Some of the key requirements to be able to use this document:
1.  Your loved one’s total property is worth has to be worth $100,000.00 or less
2.  Your loved one did not own any real estate property
3.  A Probate Court has not already given out any Letters of Office
4. If there was a will, then it was filed with the court clerk in the county where your loved one passed away
5. There are no outstanding debts or claims other than funeral expenses
In order to use the small estate affidavit, it becomes important to really differentiate between probate and non-probate assets. Generally, a probate asset includes anything that your loved one individually held that didn’t have any beneficiary designation. 
If you need help using a small estate affidavit, call us for a consultation.

Kane County Estate Planning Attorney

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 630-864-5835. We serve clients in Cook, Dupage, Kane, Lake, and Will counties.