Small Estate Affidavits in Arizona – An Alternative to Probate

When a person’s estate is not very large, a few thousand dollars of attorney’s fees and court costs for probate proceedings can significantly reduce the proceeds to be distributed to heirs. But not every estate transfer in Arizona requires formal or even informal probate to transfer the assets of a deceased person. Small Estate Affidavits are available to use when the total value of the deceased’s equity in real property is less than $100,000 or the total value of the deceased’s cash or personal property is less than $75,000. Separate affidavits must be filed for real and personal property, but the cost of preparation and filing is much less than formal or informal probate.

The affidavit is typically prepared in a form prescribed by the Court wherein the affiant (signor) makes certain representations under oath regarding the death of the owner, the type and value of the property, the affiant’s relationship to the deceased and whether there are any other heirs with claims to the property. After a set number of days after the death of the decedent these affidavits can be filed with the county Superior Court where the property is located.

The Small Estate Affidavit cannot be used when there is a probate proceeding already open in any county or when a personal representative has been appointed or acted for the estate in any jurisdiction in the last year.

If you can faithfully attest to each one of the statements in the Small Estate Affidavit, it can be a powerful and cost effective means to accomplish the transfer of assets following the death of a loved one. The court-stamped affidavit is usually sufficient to gain access to bank accounts or satisfy a title company to legally transfer the property.

If you have questions about transferring assets or you are having trouble accessing property owned by a decedent, an experienced estate attorney at Nielsen Law Group is available for a complimentary review of your problem. You can schedule your initial consultation by calling (480) 888-7111 or submitting a web request here.