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Small Estate Affidavits Under Chapter 205 of the Texas Estates Code

GuestandGrayLogoSmall Estate Affidavits are a common question that we receive from clients and potential clients in the Estate Planning section here in the Rockwall and Kaufman County areas. Many people do not have a large estate other than the value of their home. This type of estate is the exact reason that the Texas Legislature enacted chapter 205 of the Estate’s Code. It was done mainly to prevent fraud on the decedent’s estate and provide for a more efficient and less costly means of administering estates that do not have a large amount of assets.

For the most part, the statute achieves its stated purpose and helps many families across the state quickly and effectively take care of the entire estate of their loved one while avoiding the potential horrors of the probate process in Texas. However, there are narrow requirements in Texas to qualify for a Small Estate Affidavit in Texas. This can create complications in certain instances such as where, although the size of the Estate would qualify it for the Small Estate Affidavit process, they do not qualify because the decedent owned real estate that is not considered “exempt” property, such as a homestead. For instance, if the decedent owned an empty plot of land, they would not qualify for the Small Estate Affidavit process because an empty lot will not qualify for “exempt” property because the decedent was not using it as their “homestead”. There are other situations, but that is the most common.

As noted above, there are narrow requirements for an Estate to qualify for the Small Estate Affidavit process in Texas and those requirements are as follows:

  1. The Decedent died without a valid Will;
  2. 30 days have elapsed since the date of the decedent’s death;
  3.  No petition for the appointment of a personal representative is pending or has been granted;

  4.  the value of the estate assets, excluding homestead and exempt property, does not exceed $50,000;

  5.  an affidavit that meets the requirements of Section 205.002 is filed with the clerk of the court that has jurisdiction and venue of the estate;

  6.  the judge approves the affidavit as provided by Section 205.003; and

  7.  the distributees comply with Section 205.004.


Guest and Gray, P.C. is your local full service law firm with experienced attorneys and knowledgeable staff ready to meet your estate planning and probate needs. Our firm is the largest and highest rated firm in both Kaufman and Rockwall counties for a reason. Don’t live in Kaufman or Rockwall counties? We also serve the following surrounding counties: Dallas, Tarrant, Collin, Hunt, and Henderson. So, fret not.

Don’t call just any law firm to guide you through the estate planning process. When you hire an attorney from Guest and Gray, P.C., you not only get an attorney assigned to your case, but you get a knowledgeable and caring support staff. Call Guest and Gray, P.C. at 972-564-4644.

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