Intro to Probate: Small Estates
By Aurthur Fowler - 11/29/2015
Tennessee has a process for Small Estates that avoids the normal probate process. Small Estates can be testate or intestate estates. A small estate is an estate where the value of the decedent’s personal property does not exceed $50,000. Personal property does not include property jointly owned or property that passed to a designated beneficiary. A Small Estate does not address real property. T.C.A. § 30-4-102. To open a Small Estate, the person (beneficiary, heir, personal representative, creditor) opening the Small Estate must wait 45 days after death before submitting a Small Estate Affidavit to the probate court. The person submitting the Small Estate Affidavit is called the Affiant. The Small Estate Affidavit shall set forth the following facts:
- If there is a Will, the original shall be presented to the court for examination by the clerk and deposited with the court for safekeeping.
- A list of unpaid debts left by decedent and the name and address of each creditor and the amount due that creditor.
- An itemized description and the value of all of decedent’s personal property, the names and addresses of all persons known to have possession of any of decedent’s property, and a schedule of all insurance on decedent’s life payable to the decedent’s estate.
- The name, age, address, and relationship, if any, of each devisee, legatee or heir entitled to receive any of decedent’s property.
- Statement, subject to the penalty for perjury, that the affidavit is not false or misleading and that the affiant is mindful of all duties imposed upon the affiant by this chapter.