Probating Small Estates

In cases where an estate does not have a lot of assets (less than $50,000), full administration of an estate in probate court may not be necessary.

A small estate affidavit allows a decedent's heirs to inherit property without the full formalities of probate. It may also be used for a small estate when there is no will.

A small estate affidavit can be filed when a person dies without leaving a will, there is no petition for personal representatives either pending or granted, at least 30 days has elapsed since the decedent's passing, the value of the estate is not greater than $50,000 (excluding exempt property), and at least two disinterested witnesses have filed a sworn affidavit affirming heirship.

A disinterested witnesses is someone who has nothing to gain from the estate financially or otherwise.

The small estate affidavit must detail the assets and liabilities of the estate as well as the names of all the heirs and their relationship to the deceased.

In calculating the value of an estate for the purposes of filing a small estate affidavit you must take into consideration all assets including life insurance annuities and community property.

You must also indicate whether the decedent applied for and received any Medicaid benefits after March 1, 2005.

Each heir must sign and swear to the affidavit before a notary. If an heir cannot be located a small state affidavit cannot be used.

A small estate affidavit cannot transfer title to any real estate except a homestead.

For more information and/or help with probate matters click here.

Small Estate (Probate) in Texas Law

Government Code


pertaining to statutory county court fees and costs, county court fees and costs, no surviving spouse executor or administrator, retirement system

Local Government Code


pertaining to fee for affidavit to heirship, filing of affidavit, county court fee schedules

Probate Code


pertaining to collection of small estates upon affidavit, summary proceedings for small estates after personal representatives appointed, requiring heirs to give bond, decrease in amount of bond, heirship determination, small estates, probate proceedings

Vernons Civil Statutes


pertaining to death benefits, confidentiality of information

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John Q. Lawyer

Attorney at Law

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Probate-Small Estate 00000000