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How to File a Small Estate Affidavit

In order to claim the property of a deceased relative, you need to file a small estate affidavit. The property value must not exceed that determined by the state in which the property is located. The following sample procedure comes from the Marion County Circuit Court, Third Judicial District in Oregon. Contact the appropriate county court for state-specific filing instructions.


Filing a Small Estate Affidavit

How to File a Small Estate Affidavit


1. Determine if one of three conditions apply.

According to the Marion County Circuit Court, you should file to claim a small estate if:

  • The deceased dies intestate (without a will) and has no heirs;
  • The deceased had a will (dies testate) and named you as a devisee (one who receives property);
  • You are a creditor still owed by the estate after a designated time. In Oregon, that time period is 60 days.


2. File in the appropriate county.

The Marion County Circuit Court instructs you to file small estate affidavits through circuit courts in the county where the the death occurred, the county of the decedent’s residence when he died or the county (or counties) where the estate property is located.


3. Complete the affidavit form thoroughly.

Leave nothing blank. If a field does not apply, The Marion County Circuit Court directs that you write “none” or “does not apply” rather than leave it blank. You may have your signature notarized or the clerk of the court can verify a witnessed signature.


4. Secure a certified death certificate.

If the deceased left a will, get the original signed will. File these documents and the small estate affidavit at the appropriate county courthouse. There is a filing fee.


5. Fulfill your legal obligations.

According to the Marion County Circuit Court, the affiant (the one who files) must mail or otherwise deliver copies of the form to all parties named in the affidavit within 30 days of filing. The affiant takes possession of the property named in the affidavit, is responsible for all estate expenses and must pay all related taxes.


Tips & Warnings
The affidavit can be filed no less than 30 days after the death of the decedent.


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