Small Estate Affidavit
image of court affidavit

A very popular method to shortcut the full probate process is the small estate affidavit as set forth in 473.097 RSMO. The Statute provides that the affidavit can be used if the value of the entire estate, less liens, debts and encumbrances, does not exceed forty thousand dollars. The Statute thus allows for offsets of liens and certain debts so that the net estate does not exceed forty thousand dollars. The Statute requires that thirty days have elapsed before applying for a small estate affidavit. The court may also require that a bond be posted. Notice of the Small Estate Affidavit must be published in a local paper once a week for two consecutive weeks if the value of the estate is greater than fifteen thousand dollars. The small estate affidavit is frequently utilized by the adult children of the decedent or by the siblings of a decedent. There are, however, various concerns that can arise and that must be examined before attempting to utilize a small estate affidavit, particularly when attempting to perfect, or to clear, title on real estate of the decedent.

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