Odds and Ends

Can a Small Estate Affidavit Transfer Title to Homestead Property?

by Rania Combs

A small estate affidavit is a legal document that can be used to transfer property to heirs without a formal probate.

Heirs can take advantage of this procedure only if:

  1. The deceased person died without a Will;
  2. At least 30 days have passed since the date of death;
  3. No person has filed an application to be appointed as personal representative of the estate;
  4. The value of the probate estate is $75,000 or less, not counting the value of the homestead and other exempt property; and
  5. The total assets (not counting homestead and exempt property) exceed the total known debts of the estate (exclusive of debts secured by homestead and exempt property).

Heirs can use a small estate affidavit to transfer title in real property only if the deceased person’s real property was his or her homestead, and the deceased person is survived by a spouse or minor children.

If the property is not the deceased person’s homestead and he or she is not survived by a spouse or minor children, then a small estate affidavit cannot be used to transfer title to property. In that case, a determination of heirship proceeding may be necessary.

About Rania

Rania graduated magna cum laude from South Texas College of Law Houston and is the founder of Rania Combs Law, PLLC. She has been licensed to practice law since 1994 and enjoys helping clients in Texas and North Carolina create estate plans that give them peace of mind.

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  1. Gil

    May 6, 2020 at 11:22am

    I want to file a Small estate affidavit in Harris county, Texas. The deceased passed away without a will, no children,no siblings and no parents. His only asset is a checking account worth less than one thousand dollars. Do I need to include my homestead in the description of assets.

    1. Rania Combs

      May 13, 2020 at 11:27am

      A small estate affidavit must all the assets of the Decedent with a full description of each and every asset
      belonging to the deceased person. Texas Law Help, which is supported by the Texas Access to Justice Foundation, has good guidance on what should be included in a Small Estate Affidavit and common mistakes people make when filling out the form.