Small Estate Affidavit

If the deceased did not leave behind a will, you may be able to settle the estate using a small estate affidavit. The cut off on the value of the estate for using a small estate affidavit used to be $50,000.  But since September 1, 2017, the threshold has been increased to $75, 000.  This amount does not include the homestead or other exempt properties. In addition, the estate must be solvent. This means that the outstanding debts should not be more than the value of the estate. The affidavit must be sworn to by two disinterested witnesses and all legal distributees of the estate before filing to the court. After the judge approves the affidavit, the assets may be distributed. Since September 2015, the Texas Estates  Code has tightened the use of small estate affidavit to allow transfer of a real property only if it was the deceased’s homestead and title is passing down to a surviving spouse or minor children. For any other heirs, such as siblings, nieces or nephews, or for a non-homestead real property, small estate affidavit may not be used.  In cases like this, you will have to consider other channels such as a determination of heirship.