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Small Estate Affidavit > Qualifications

 

A Small Estate Affidavit can be used ONLY:

  • For personal property, AND

  • If the net value of Decedent's probate assets is $100,000 or less ($60,000 or less if death before June 6, 2006).

Small Estate Affidavit: Qualifications

  1. Introduction
  2. "Entire Estate Does Not Exceed $100,000"
  3. "Personal Property in the Estate"
  4. Decedent's Debts Must Be Paid or "Provided For"
  5. Persons Entitled to Use the Affidavit

 

Source of Confusion:  RCW 11.62.010, the statute enabling this Small Estate Affidavit, fails to give it a name.  Consequently, it has come to be known by a variety of names, such as:

This website calls it a "Small Estate Affidavit"

 

 

A.  Introduction    

 

For a Washington-resident Decedent, if the value of Decedent's entire estate does not exceed $100,000 (the "$100,000 Test"), then personal property in the estate may pass to its successors by Affidavit or DeclarationRCW 11.62.010

 

If there is no real property in the estate, then:

Caution:  A Small Estate Affidavit may NOT be used:

A Small Estate Affidavit CANNOT be used:

  • For ANY real property, OR

  • If the net value of Decedent's probate assets exceeds $100,000.

 

B.  "Entire Estate Does Not Exceed $100,000"    

 

Note:  The Legislature increased the maximum amount from $60,000 to $100,000 for Decedent's dying after June 5, 2006.

 

The Affidavit procedure concerns only Decedent's Probate Assets.  So as for Decedent's nonprobate assets, they are transferred through their own process and are not taken into account in the valuation for purposes of the $100,000 Test.

 

Furthermore, because the Affidavit concerns only Decedent's (and no one else's) probate assets, if Decedent is survived by a spouse, the surviving spouse's one-half interest in their community property is also not included in the valuation.

 

Lastly, in probate, assets are valued according to their net, not gross, value.  Consequently, any debt or encumbrance is taken into account --- meaning that any value above Decedent's equity interest in his/her probate assets is also not included in the valuation.

 

To summarize, the $100,000 Test concerns only:

 

Even though a Small Estate Affidavit CANNOT be used to transfer ANY real property, the net value of any real property among Decedent's probate assets must be included for purposes of the $100,000 Test.

C.  "Personal Property in the Estate"    

 

Although Decedent's equity interest in real property is included in the calculation of his/her probate assets for purposes of the $100,000 Test, the transfer process itself is effective only for personal property and not for real property (eg, raw land and improvements to land, such as buildings attached to land).  For purposes of the Affidavit, "personal property" includes both:

The legal requirements for the use of this Small Estate Affidavit procedure, especially regarding real property, can be confusing.  To clarify the situation:

Examples of the $100,000 Test

 

 

D.  Decedent's Debts Must Be Paid or "Provided For"    

 

Before you may use a Small Estates Affidavit, Decedent's debts, including funeral and burial expenses, must be:

 

E.  Persons Entitled to Use the Affidavit    

 

To use the Affidavit, one must be a "successor" of Decedent as defined in RCW 11.62.005(2):

A person whose only claim to the property is as a creditor is expressly excluded from being a "successor" (except for the State).

 

Question: Is the named Personal Representative under Decedent's Will a "successor"?  What if the PR is not also a Beneficiary (eg, Decedent names a friend or institution as PR and give his/her estate to his/her family)?  Is such a PR "a person entitled to the property under Decedent's Will" and therefore authorized to use a Small Estate Affidavit?

 

Small Estate Affidavit: Procedure

 

 

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