In this article, we explain Illinois small estate affidavits. We answer the questions, “What is a small estate affidavit?” and “What information do you need to file a small estate affidavit.” We also explain how to file a small estate affidavit in Illinois.
A small estate affidavit is a form that the administrator of a deceased person’s (known as the “decedent”) estate can use to collect the decedent’s assets, pay their debts and distribute the balance of the estate to the decedent’s heirs and beneficiaries. Estate administrators can avoid opening a probate case and instead administer an estate without court oversight by using a Small Estate Affidavit if all of the following are true:
The affidavit requires the administrator to swear in writing that all of these conditions are met and to set forth how the assets of the estate will be distributed. The administrator will be legally empowered to collect and distribute the decedent’s property by presenting financial institutions and any other business or person who has the decedent’s property with a copy of the small estate affidavit, a copy of the death certificate, and a certified copy of any existing will.
Read more about the pros and cons of small estate affidavits as well as information on probate here.
You need to supply the following information in the small estate affidavit.
A small affidavit does not need to be filed with a court. You can find the small estate affidavit form from the Illinois Secretary of State online or in person at your local circuit county clerk’s office. Once it’s filled out, make at least one extra copy of the affidavit. The form must be notarized, so make sure you don’t sign it until you can do so in the presence of a notary public. You’ll also need to attach a copy of the death certificate and a certified copy of the will, if there is one.
To learn how to administer an estate once the Small Estate Affidavit has been filed, check out our article: How to Administer an Estate in Illinois.