Small Estate Affidavit Attorney

The Small Estate Affidavit may be used by the heirs who are entitled to a share of the decedent’s property (i.e. the "distributees") under Texas laws of intestacy.  The laws of intestacy define the order in which descendants (e.g. children and grandchildren), ancestors (e.g. parents and grandparents) and/or other relatives (e.g. brothers, sisters, nieces and nephews, and cousins) share in distribution of the decedent’s property when there was no valid Will.

When approved, the Small Estate Affidavit permits distribution of the property directly to the heirs without need for appointment of an Executor or Administrator to manage the estate.


Requirements that must be met before a Small Estate Affidavit can be used include:

  1. At least 30 days have elapsed since the decedent's death;
  2. No petition for appointment of a Personal Representative (i.e. Executor or Administrator) is pending or has been granted; and,
  3. The value of the estate's assets, excluding the decedent's homestead and exempt property, does not exceed $50,000.

The Small Estate Affidavit filed with the court must contain sworn statements by two disinterested witnesses and all distributees (i.e. persons who will take property) that list:

  1. All estate property and debts;
  2. The names and address of each distributee; and,
  3. Relevant marital and family history of the deceased that proves each distributee's right to inherit  property.

After the Court’s Approval

Once approved and signed by the court, the distributees must provide a copy of the Small Estate Affidavit to each person who owes money to the estate (i.e. borrowers) or has custody of property of the estate (i.e. banks holding the decedent’s money).  Prior to distributing the decedent’s property, the distributes must also ensure the decedent’s valid debts get paid by liquidating assets other than an exempt homestead and any exempt personal property.

Transferring Title to the Homestead

When title to the homestead will transfer, the Small Estate Affidavit gets recorded in the deed records of the county in which the decedent’s homestead is located. Then, any bona fide purchaser of the homestead is entitled to rely upon the Small Estate Affidavit to take ownership free and clear from future claims of any potential undisclosed heirs.  A bona fide purchaser of the homestead, however, remains liable to any lawful creditors who were not paid by the distributees prior to distribution of the decedent’s property.

How Long It Takes

A Small Estate Affidavit can be processed from start to finish in roughly a month's time.  When one or more distributees and/or witnesses live outside the local area, the process take a bit longer.

Flat Fee

Our firm handles Small Estate Affidavits on a flat fee basis.

Our Firm's Guiding Hand

We will be glad to discuss whether a Small Estate Affidavit is the best option for your situation.  If it is, we'll handle every aspect of drafting and filing the Affidavit for you.  We will ensure that transfer of the homestead, if included, is properly recorded in the County's real property records.  We will provide you with the court's certified order approving the Affidavit so you can collect the decedent's property from banks and others in possession.  Call today to speak with our probate attorney.

The Cramp Law Firm is located in San Antonio, Texas and assists clients throughout Bexar, Comal, Guadalupe and Kendall counties.

© 2018 Cramp Law Firm, PLLC - CANCELLED | Disclaimer
Alamo Towers West, 901 NE Loop 410, Suite 800, San Antonio, TX 78209
| Phone: (210) 819-5052

Probate | Wills & Estate Plans | Family Law | Attorneys & Support Staff | Principles | Forms Directory


Law Firm Website Design by
Zola Creative