Whitney’s Tax Files: Small Estate Affidavits

In this edition of Whitney’s Tax Files, Whitney explains how to use Small Estate Affidavits to bypass probate, saving you time and money.

Hi, I’m Whitney Sorrell with the Sorrell Law Firm in Scottsdale, Arizona, and you’re watching Whitney’s Tax Files. Today’s question comes from a client who’s asking whether they can avoid probate with the use of small estate affidavits.

Now small estate affidavits come in two varieties. The first is a personal property affidavit. A personal property affidavit would be effective if the total value of all the personal property in the estate does not exceed $75,000.00 USD. There’s also a real property affidavit. A real property affidavit is effective if the value of all the real property in the estate does not exceed $100,000.00 USD.

Now when we’re looking at the value of the property, we’re looking at the net value, the net equity. So you’re going to look at the fair market value minus any mortgages or liens filed and recorded against that property, and that’s going to give your net equity. For a real property affidavit to be effective you have to bring it to court and have the court approve it.

Once approved, you’re going to record that real property affidavit together with a certified death certificate, and that would be effective to transfer the property. The personal property affidavit does not need court approval. You can just execute the personal property affidavit and deliver it to the person holding the property, and they give you the property.

So those are the methods of avoiding a probate for a small estate. If you have any questions or if you need any help with this type of a matter, please give us a call at 480-776-6055. When you call mention that you saw us on Whitney’s Tax Files.


About the Author Whitney L. Sorrell, JD, CPA, MBA

Whitney Sorrell is a former IRS Revenue Agent turned tax attorney and CPA.  Mr. Sorrell’s law practice focuses on business organizations and federal tax planning, IRS dispute resolution, asset protection planning for small business owners, and estate planning for nigh net worth individuals.

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