In Texas, a Small Estate Affidavit can be used as an affordable and efficient means to transfer property to a deceased person’s heirs. It is an alternative to probate in Texas. In order to use a Small Estate Affidavit in Texas, certain requirements must be met. If any of the requirement are not met, then a different probate procedure must be used.
- The decedent (legal term for deceased person) died without a Will.
- The decedent left less than $75,000 in property (not including homestead property and exempt property)
- The assets are worth more than the debts.
- When calculating the value of the debts and the assets, do not consider any mortgages or debts secured by exempt property as debts, and do not consider homestead and exempt property as assets.
- The only real property owned by the decedent was decedent’s homestead property, and the real property will be inherited only by person(s) homesteading with the decedent at the time decedent died—decedent’s surviving spouse and minor child(ren) who resided on property with decedent.
- All of the heirs and their locations are known, and all of the heirs will sign the Small Estate Affidavit (or someone with legal authority will sign on their behalf).
- There is no pending application for appointment of a personal representative and no personal representative has been appointed by a court.
- No administration of the decedent’s estate is needed.
Benefits of Small Estate Affidavit:
- No court appearance needed generally. Judges normally sign and approve it in chambers.
- Quick turnaround. Signed in about 1 week from filing.
- Simplified process. Draft application, file application, judge approves and signs Small Estate Affidavit.
Limitations of Small Estate Affidavit:
- Strict compliance with the requirements above. If any one is not met, the Small Estate Affidavit cannot be used.
- No Personal Representative (also called executor or administrator) will be appointed.
- Since this is a Texas-specific procedure, some out-of-state financial institutions may be reluctant to easily comply.
If you’d like to read more about the law on Small Estate Affidavits, please see:
- Texas Estates Code Chapter 205 on the Small Estate Affidavit; and
- Texas Estates Code Chapter 201 on Decent and Distribution, the legal term for how property passes to heirs when there is no Will.
Contact Norris Golubovic, PLLC For A Complimentary Post-Death Estate Review
If you’re ready to get started with the probate process after the passing of a loved one, please contact our experienced Harris County probate attorneys at 713-955-4501 or use this link to schedule a complimentary 15-minute consultation to help determine your next best steps. We are here in service to making this all as easy as possible on you.
During this appointment, we will answer all of your questions about probate and guide you and your family through the next best steps. We are committed to helping you administer your loved one’s estate as quickly and efficiently as possible, and look forward to relieving any administrative or legal burdens you may face during this time of loss.