Small Estate Affidavits: The Basics

Whitney Sorrell, Esq.

Personal Property vs. Real Property Affidavits

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. Personal property includes bank and investment accounts, stocks, furniture, insurance, and any other "movable" property excluding land and buildings. 

The second is a real property affidavit. A real property affidavit is effective if the value of all real property in the estate does not exceed $100,000.00 USD. 

Calculating the Value of Property

When we're looking at the value of the property, we're looking at the net value or the net equity. To calculate net equity, take fair market value minus any mortgages or liens filed and recorded against that property, and that's going to give you your net equity.

For example, the net equity of a residence valued at $320,000 with a mortgage against it in the amount of $220,000 is $100,000. 

Court Involvement

A Real Property Affidavit must be filed with the Court to be effective. Once approved, you must record the file-stamped Real Property Affidavit together with a certified death certificatewith the County Recorder in the county in which the property is located. The Personal Property Affidavit does not need court approval. You can just execute the Affidavit and deliver it to the person holding the property.

Small Estate Affidavits are pretty straight-forward but are not always the best solution. If you have any questions or if you need help with settling a loved one's estate, please give us a call at 480-776-6055. 

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About the Author

Whitney Sorrell, Esq. is the founder of Sorrell Law Firm, PLC. When he's not serving his clients or teaching courses to Attorneys and CPAs on estate planning. business, and tax topics, he's practicing martial arts, relaxing by the pool, or walking his dog Bemo. 

He resides in Scottsdale, Arizona with his loving wife, Diana.