A Minnesota small estate affidavit enables the successors of a deceased individual (the decedent) to skip the probate process and collect estate assets out of court. Probate is an often complex and costly legal procedure that most estates are subject to. However, with a small estate affidavit, or “Affidavit of Collection of Personal Property,” no probate or court appearances are required. Minnesota law indicates that the option to collect property by affidavit is limited to estates valued at $75,000 or less.
Only personal property can be transferred via an affidavit. Personal property does not include real estate, but it does include paychecks, bank accounts, stocks, clothes, automobiles, and other such items.
How to Record (4 Steps)
- Step 1 – Small Estate Requirements
- Step 2 – Complete an Affidavit
- Step 3 – Wait 30 Days
- Step 4 – Collect Property
Claiming personal property using an affidavit is only possible if the following statements are true (§ 524.3-1201(a)):
- The total value of the entire estate, subtracting any liens and encumbrances, is not greater than $75,000.
- No petition or application has been submitted to the court to appoint a personal representative.
- The claiming successor is the next rightful owner of the property.
The person claiming property through the affidavit, called the “affiant,” must complete the Affidavit for Collection of Personal Property and sign it in the presence of a notary public or deputy court administrator. A certified death record must be attached to the affidavit.
Before the affiant can exercise their right to collect small estate assets, they must wait until thirty (30) days have passed since the decedent’s death. If collecting property stored in a safe deposit box, the affiant must instead wait until thirty (30) days have passed from the filing of an inventory of the contents held in the safe deposit box.
The affiant must deliver the notarized affidavit (including a certified death record) to any person or entity holding the decedent’s personal property. Under Minnesota statute § 524.3-1202, the party in possession of the property will be obligated to release the claimed asset to the affiant.
Note: Additional steps may be required if transferring ownership of a motor vehicle (see DVS factsheet for instructions).