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Updated July 26, 2022

A Tennessee small estate affidavit is a document that allows a petitioner, known as the affiant, to claim part or all of the estate of a deceased individual, known as the decedent. This process avoids the lengthy and expensive probate procedure for estates that are valued at less than $50,000. If approved by the court, the affiant takes on the full responsibility of managing the decedent’s estate.

Laws

  • Bond – An estate bond payable to the state is required (in some cases) and must equal the value of the estate ( T. C. A. § 30-4-103(4) ).
  • Days After Death – Forty-five (45) days ( T. C. A. § 30-4-103(1)(A) )
  • Maximum Amount ($) – $50,000 ( T. C. A. § 30-4-102(5) )
  • Filing Fee(s) – The amount the clerk shall charge and receive differs from county to county and varies on the number of documents (will, death certificate, waiver of bond, etc.) affixed to the affidavit. The total usually falls anywhere between $100 to $150. ( T. C. A. § 30-4-103(3) )
  • Signing – The affiant is required to sign the document in the presence of a notary public or deputy clerk, who also has to sign and append their seal.
  • Statutes Title 30, Chapter 4 (Small Estates)

How to File (4 Steps)

Step 1 – Wait Forty-Five (45) Days

The affiant has to wait at least forty-five (45) days after the decedent’s death before the probate court clerk will accept the filing.

Step 2 – No Personal Representative

Confirm that there are no appointments or petitions for the role of the personal representative of the estate. This can be done by searching the Tennessee Courts Public Case History .

Step 3 – Complete the Paperwork

Gather and complete the following documents for filing:

Step 4 – File with Probate Court

File the documents with the probate court local to the decedent’s final permanent residence.

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(1) County Of Circuit Court. The Tennessee Circuit Court handling this paperwork will need to be identified by the name of the County where it is located. Produce this County’s name to the title of this document.

(2) Docket Number. Report the Docket Number for this matter in the space provided.

(3) Estate Name. The name of the Tennessee Decedent should be used to identify the estate being discussed. Produce the full name of the Tennessee Decedent as requested.

(4) Tennessee Affiant Name. The legal name of the Tennessee Affiant or the Petitioner who will execute and sign this affidavit should be established in the statement being made.

(5) Tennessee Decedent Age. The age of the Deceased Party (the Tennessee Decedent) should be documented. This should be the age he or she was at the point of death.

(6) Tennessee Decedent Date And Place Of Death. The calendar date when the Tennessee Decedent died as well as the name of the County where he or she passed away should be recorded to supplement the language of the declaration being made.

(7) Residential Address Of Tennessee Decedent. Dispense the full address of the home where the Tennessee Decedent lived. This should be the physical address of his or her residence at the time of death.

(8) Intestate Tennessee Decedent. This document must inform the Reviewing Court on whether the Tennessee Decedent issued a will. If not, then select the “Decedent Left No Will” checkbox.

(9) Tennessee Decedent With Will. If a will was issued by the Tennessee Decedent, select the appropriate checkbox, then attach a copy of the Tennessee Decedent’s will to this petition.

(10) Name Of Tennessee Decedent Creditor. If the Tennessee Decedent had Creditors, then the table provided must be used to present the legal name of each Creditor to the Tennessee Decedent’s estate.

(11) Address Of Creditor. The mailing address where each Creditor to the Tennessee Decedent can be reached must be listed in the first column. Make sure to work only across each row so that one Creditor’s information remains separate from the other’s.

(12) Amount Owed By Tennessee Decedent To Creditor . The dollar amount of the debt the Tennessee Decedent’s estate owes to a Creditor listed in this table should be presented in the final column.

(13) Tennessee Decedent Property. Every asset that the Tennessee Decedent owned at the time of his or her death should be documented.  These may be intangible assets such as stocks in a company or a bank account or it may be physical property such as a computer. Define each asset of the Tennessee Decedent’s estate in the first column.

(14) Location/Possession.  The location of every asset in the Tennessee Decedent’s estate should be furnished in the second column.

(15) Bank Account Number . If the property being discussed is a bank account of the Tennessee Decedent, then record the account number of this account.

(16) Value Of Tennessee Decedent Property. The dollar value of the Tennessee Decedent’s assets should also be listed separately on each row. Produce this dollar amount in the final column.

(17) Total Worth Of Tennessee Decedent Total Personal Estate. Produce the sum of values reported in the final column as the value of the “Total Personal Estate.”

(18) Name Of Tennessee Decedent Next Of Kin.  The Next Of Kin to the Deceased will be considered Successors or entitled to some payment from the South Dakota Decedent’s estate. Each Next of Kin of the South Dakota Decedent should be named in the first column

(19) Address Of Tennessee Decedent Next Of Kin.

(20) Relationship Between Next Of Kin And Tennessee Decedent. Define how the Decedent’s Next of Kin is related to him or her. For instance, he or she may be the Decedent’s Brother, Sister, or Parent.

(21) Age Of Tennessee Decedent Next Of Kin. The age of the Tennessee Decedent’s Next of Kin should also be supplied to this table. Produce this information in the last column of this table.

(22) Signature Date Of Tennessee Decedent. The date when the Tennessee Affiant signs his or her name should be submitted before he or she signs this document.

(23) Tennessee Affiant Signature. The signature of the Tennessee Affiant should be delivered immediately after he or she has documented the current calendar date. This action may only be performed before a Notary Public.

(24) Address Of Tennessee Affiant.

(25) Notarization Of Tennessee Decedent Signature. As mentioned, the Notary Public must observe the Affiant’s signature process. He or she will complete the notarization area below the signature of the Affiant.

Consent To Serve Without Bond

(26) Tennessee County. If there are Survivors to the Tennessee Decedent who are not the Affiant but will release his or her control of the estate property to the Signature Affiant above, then a release that is signed and notarized must be provided. This release must begin with a record of the Tennessee County.

(27) Tennessee Decedent. The name of the Tennessee Decedent whose estate is being discussed is required.

(28) Docket Number. Furnish the filing or docket number assigned to the Tennessee Decedent’s estate proceedings.

(29) Tennessee Decedent Beneficiary. The Beneficiary to the Tennessee Decedent’s estate property who intends to consent to the Affiant’s request must be identified in the release statement provided.

(30) Tennessee Affiant Name. The name of the Tennessee Affiant is required in the declaration of consent.

(31) Signature Date. The Beneficiary must provide a notarized signature to this document. He or she should begin with a report on the current date when he or she signs this consent.

(32) Tennessee Decedent Beneficiary Signature . The Beneficiary of the Tennessee Decedent should sign his or her name where requested before a licensed Notary Public.

(33) Beneficiary Address.

(34) Notarization Of Beneficiary Signature. The Notary Public serving to verify the Beneficiary signature will complete this consent with proof of the notarization process