Filing a Small Estate Affidavit

Dunlap Law Insights

A common question we receive here at Dunlap Seeger is exactly how long does it take to probate an estate. If you share the same question, you might not like hearing the answer we give that every estate case is different, and thus placing a standard expectation on how long probate might take is difficult. Yet before you begin worrying about the length of time it might take to complete the probate process, a better question might be whether the estate you are party to needs to be probated at all.

Probate court officials do not want to see small estates have their assets depleted through probate costs. Thus the state has provided a way by which small estates can essentially bypass the process altogether. This is done by filing a small estate affidavit. The requirements for filing for this benefit can be found in Section 524.3-201 of Minnesota’s Probate Code. These include:

  • 30 days having passed since the death of the decedent
  • The entire value of the estate not exceeding $75,000 dollars
  • No previous application for the appointment of a personal representative be pending

Typically, if you are the one filing for the small estate affidavit, you must also present the decedent’s death certificate.

Once the affidavit has been filed, you are then authorized to begin collecting the property of the decedent in preparation for its dispersal to their heirs. Those currently possessing any properties belonging to the estate are to deal with you in the same manner they would a personal representative. You are not required to produce additional evidence supporting the affidavit; the instrument itself is considered proof enough of your assignment.