Illinois Small Estate Affidavit

Families that would rather avoid probate court due to the costs and time frame of a court proceeding can take advantage of small estates affidavits to obtain a decedent’s assets. These include assets such as vehicles, bank accounts, certificates of deposit and corporate stocks standing in their name alone. The maximum amount of non-probate personal assets that a decedent can own at the time of death, and still qualify for the use of a small estate affidavit is currently $100,000. This does not include life insurance payable to a named beneficiary, joint tenancy accounts, payable on death accounts, real estate with a transfer on death instrument designation or held jointly, assets in trust, or other non-probate assets.

Therefore, with careful estate planning and execution of a small estate affidavit, even large estates can be settled outside of probate court without the need to file a proceeding in court. A small estate affidavit will suffice for the transfer of a decedent’s assets, provided all the statements in the affidavit are true. Additionally, the small estate affidavit must assure the estate will be used in the manner the owner desired and will be distributed in the amounts/proportions intended by the owner.

Small estate affidavits cannot be used if the asset attempting to be transferred is real estate. Real estate is an asset exempt from the small estate affidavit statute, and thus, if real estate needs to be transferred a probate estate is required to be opened in Illinois.

Furthermore, there is some personal liability to the affiant under a small estate affidavit, and thus it is best approached only with the assistance of a probate lawyer such as the Lake County probate lawyers of Johnston Tomei Lenczycki & Goldberg, LLC.


It’s often advisable to have a lawyer draft a small estate affidavit to make sure it is correctly worded and meets all the qualifications of your state’s laws. A lawyer will need to obtain information about all the probate personal estate, its value on the date of death, how title to each item was held on that date, and then the value of the interest of the decedent.

If you are interested in discussing small estate affidavits for your family, contact the lawyers at Johnston Tomei Lenczycki & Goldberg LLC today. We offer a no charge initial consultation where we will understand your assets, your family, your estate plan goals, and then recommend your best planning options. We take a holistic approach to estate planning, and will consider all planning documents available if the need arises. Call us today at 847-549-0600 to schedule your free initial consultation.



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Contact Details

Johnston Tomei Lenczycki & Goldberg LLC

Phone Number: (847) 549-0600
Fax Number: (847) 589-2263

Libertyville Office
350 N. Milwaukee Ave., Ste. 202
Libertyville, IL 60048

Gurnee Office
223 N. IL. Rt. 21, Ste. 14
Gurnee, Illinois 60031

Manchester Office
2100 Manchester Road, Suite 920
Wheaton, IL 60187