Illinois Small Estate Affidavits

Illinois Small Estate Affidavits Explained | How to File a Small Estate Affidavit in Illinois

Updated on:
May 24, 2019

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.

What is a small estate affidavit?

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 decedent’s assets amount to less than $100,000 and do not include real estate.
  •  All of the creditors will be paid.
  • No creditors’ claims are contested by the administrator.
  • There are no disputes between heirs and beneficiaries.

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.

What information do you need to file a small estate affidavit?

You need to supply the following information in the small estate affidavit.

  • Your (affiant’s) name, address and phone number, as well as your relationship to the decedent.
  • The name and contact info for an Illinois resident if you are not an Illinois resident who can serve as an agent for service of process in your absence.
  • The decedent’s name, date of death, address of residence prior to death.
  • Description and valuations of the decedent’s assets, including vehicle make, model, VIN and license plate number.
  • Information on the decedent’s funeral and burial expenses, surviving spouse/dependent award and outstanding debts.
  •  Name and place of residence of any surviving spouse, minor children or adult dependents.
  • Breakdown of how the decedent’s estate will be distributed to heirs.

Does a small estate affidavit need to be filed with the court in Illinois?

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.

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