Illinois Small Estate Affidavit: Save Time, Money and Stress

Illinois, Small Estate Affidavit

When a loved one passes away, it can be a difficult and overwhelming time for family members. The last thing you want to think about are the legal and financial details that come with settling the decedent’s estate (the assets that the decedent left are known as the estate).

Fortunately, for smaller estates, there is a streamlined process available in Illinois. It allows for certain estate property that once belonged to the deceased person to pass on to those who it’s intended for.

It’s called an Illinois Small Estate Affidavit. This affidavit can save time, money, and stress for the family of the decedent. Let’s take a look at what it is and when it might be beneficial to use one.

What is an Illinois Small Estate Affidavit?

An Illinois Small Estate Affidavit is a legal document that allows estates that do not exceed $100,000 in value to be settled outside of regular probate court proceedings. Probate is the formal legal process of distributing the decedent’s assets, which can be slow and complicated.

In other words, if your loved one’s estate does not exceed this amount or has no real property owned (such as land or a house), then you may qualify for an affidavit and avoid going through the probate court system. This can save time and money, as well as emotional stress associated with a lengthy probate process.

The affidavit must be filled out by an authorized personal representative of the decedent’s estate, such as an executor or administrator. It includes information about the deceased person’s assets and liabilities, and it must be signed in the presence of a notary public before it can be used.

The affidavit is an alternative to the probate court, which can be time-consuming and costly. Utilizing a small estate affidavit is generally quicker and less expensive than going through the formal probate process.

However, it’s important to note that an incorrectly completed affidavit can lead to legal issues down the road, so consulting with an attorney when completing this document may help ensure accuracy and save time and money in the long run.

Additionally, utilizing a small estate affidavit does not absolve someone from any liability if the deceased owed taxes or debts; those must still be paid before the assets are transferred.

Assets, Liabilities, Small Estate Affidavit

Benefits of An Illinois Small Estate Affidavit

One of the great benefits of this document is that it makes it easy for anyone in Illinois who may have inherited assets from a family member or loved one to quickly obtain ownership of their assets. This small estate affidavit form serves as proof of ownership, allowing the decedent’s heirs to access bank accounts, investment accounts, sell stocks, and transfer assets with ease.

The Illinois small estate affidavit also simplifies complicated inheritance matters for those who are not familiar with State laws regarding intestate succession. With this document, there is no need to waste time navigating complex legal jargon as all paperwork associated with transferring assets can be completed relatively quickly and easily.

In addition, this document allows heirs to avoid any potential delays that may arise due to probate court proceedings. The process is much faster than probate proceedings, making it easier (and less stressful) for family members and friends to settle any disputes they may have regarding inheritance rights in a timely manner.

Filing an Illinois Small Estate Affidavit is often the quickest and easiest way for inheritors to take possession of their rightful assets after the decedent’s death.

How To Know If An Estate is Eligible Under Illinois State Law

To see if the estate qualifies, it must meet these requirements:

  • The decedent died without any real property (such as land or a house).

  • The decedent’s estate has a value of $100,000 or less.

  • A probate case has not been opened, nor is there any intention of a probate case being opened.

  • If there is a valid will, it should be filed with the clerk of the court in the county where the decedent resided within 30 days of the death.

  • There are not any disagreements between the heirs about the will.

NOTE: A small estate affidavit cannot be use to transfer real estate. The transfer can be done by a Transfer on Death Instrument or a joint tenancy.

Illinois, Succession Laws

Where Can I Get an Illinois Small Estate Affidavit

You can obtain a small estate affidavit form from the probate court clerk in the county where the decedent resided. NOTE: the small estate affidavit does not need to be filed with the court. Once you have the form you can then begin making a list of the decedent’s possessions. If the estate includes motor vehicles be sure to have the VIN#, and license plate number from each one.

Next you will need to supply the following information on the small estate affidavit form.

  • Your name, mailing address, phone number, and relationship to the decedent.

  • If you are not an Illinois resident, the name and contact information for an Illinois resident who can serve as an agent in your absence.

  • The decedent’s name, date of death, and residence address before the decedent’s death.

  • Description and valuations of the decedent’s assets, including vehicle, make, model, VIN, and license plate number.

  • Information on the decedent’s funeral expenses, and any outstanding debts.

  •  Name and place of residence of any surviving spouse, minor children, or adult dependents.

  • Breakdown of how the decedent’s estate will be distributed to heirs.

When you have completed filling out the small estate affidavit form, make at least one extra copy. Remember that the form needs to be notarized, so do not sign the form until you are in the presence of a notary public. Once you have had the form notarized, attach a copy of the decedent’s death certificate, and a certified copy of the will if there is one.

Using The Small Estate Affidavit

You’ve been handed the affidavit that unlocks the power to retrieve your loved one’s property. You can now show the affidavit to any person, bank or corporation that holds the personal property of the estate. Once the deceased person’s property has been released, the party who gave you the property cannot be sued.

Put simply: if they honor the written request attached to your paperwork, there won’t be anything for them to worry about in court.

Questions, Answers, Small Estate Affidavit

Common Questions About An Illinois Small Estate Affidavit

Who can file a small estate affidavit in Illinois?

Affidavits are filled out by an authorized personal representative of the decedent’s estate, such as the executor of the decedent’s will or administrator (someone who will inherit according to Illinois succession laws without a will).

How much does it cost to file a small estate affidavit in Illinois?

Since the affidavit does not need to be filed with the court, there are no court or filing fee.

Does the small estate affidavit need to be notarized?

In order for the affidavit to be a valid document, it will need to be notarized by a notary public.

What’s Considered a “Small Estate?”

Estates that do not exceed $100,000 in value, excluding real estate.

What is the difference between probate and small estate?

An estate will need to go through probate if it’s value exceeds $100,000 and if real estate is included.

Who can sign small estate affidavits?

Affidavits are signed by an authorized personal representative of the decedent’s estate, such as the executor of the decedent’s will or administrator (someone who will inherit according to Illinois succession laws without a will).

What are the risks of filing a small estate affidavit in Illinois?

It is best to speak your attorney about whether or not an affidavit would benefit you and your situation.

Finalized, Settled, Agreed

Final Thoughts:

An Illinois small estate affidavit can provide much needed relief when you are dealing with settling an estate after losing a loved one. It has specific requirements that must be met before filing but if all conditions are satisfied then this form can allow you to quickly gain access to certain assets without having to go through probate court proceedings. If you find yourself in this situation then speak with your attorney about whether or not an affidavit would benefit you in your particular circumstances.

If you would like more information on the probate process in Illinois, or if you need a reference for a probate attorney.  Please feel free to contact me. I would be happy to help you.  My name is Maria Mastrolonardo, I am an Illinois Certified Probate Real Estate Specialist with RE/MAX Enterprises.  This is ALL I do; I help guide families through the process of selling real estate in probate and I would be happy to help you as well.

Call me today at: (630) 248-6077, or contact me here

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