Aunt Ethel died a few weeks ago. Her remaining assets are fairly modest. Their value doesn’t justify going through the expense of a full probate. What’s the family to do if the beneficiaries still want those remaining assets? How can the assets be transferred to the beneficiaries without costing an arm and a leg?
Enter the Small Estate Affidavit.
In Kansas, if there is no real estate involved (including minerals) and the personal property of a decedent (a/k/a deceased person) is valued under $40,000, a Small Estate Affidavit can be used to transfer the estate assets to the beneficiaries. Small Estate Affidavits are forms used to grant authority to a person (usually an executor or beneficiary named under a Will or an heir of the decedent) to transfer and take responsibility for a deceased person’s personal property assets. However, if the value of the personal property exceeds $40,000, or if real estate is owned in the estate, a different probate proceeding will be required to transfer the estate assets.
Bank accounts, jewelry, art, and vehicles that the deceased person owned are common types of assets transferred to beneficiaries by this Affidavit. The Small Estate Affidavit can be presented to any person, company or bank that may currently hold estate property, previously owned by the decedent. With this form, these entities are required to hand over or transfer the assets according to the terms of the Affidavit.
One of the benefits of the Small Estate Affidavit, in addition to the simplicity and cost savings, is the speed in which it may be used. Because there is no mandatory waiting period required in Kansas to use this Affidavit, beneficiaries can receive the decedent’s personal property much quicker than with other probate proceedings.
As with any important legal document, you should have your attorney prepare this Affidavit. You will need to provide your attorney with a copy of the decedent’s death certificate, as well as detailed information about the decedent’s assets.
If you have further questions about Small Estate Affidavits or other probate proceedings, please contact Davis & McCann, P. A. We’ve been helping Western Kansas clients work through the probate process, since 2003. We are members of Wealth Counsel, a national consortium of Estate Planning Attorneys. Our focus is to provide the best legal advice on Estate Planning, Probate, Trust Administration, Medicaid and Long-term Care Planning, Business Formation, Business and Farm Succession Planning, Real Estate Transactions, and related matters.
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