Small Estate Affidavits
If your loved one, the decedent, has less than $75,000 and they don't have a will (even if they own real estate and it's their homestead, then we don't count the value of the real estate) then we just count the value of the assets that are less than $75,000.
A Clear Example
Say the decedent didn't put your name down as a beneficiary, or maybe there's a reason for a pension plan administrator wanting to see letters of administration, or they want to see proof that the court accepted your small estate affidavit for them to release the money. So this is when you should file a small estate affidavit. You don't have to go through all of the proceedings to take the steps that you would in an heirship proceeding. But it is a cheaper and a more expedient way of getting the assets that are less than $75,000.
When NOT to Use a Small Estate Affidavit
As a more important fact for you to know is that if the person, if your loved one, had a will and you realized that their assets that were listed in the will are less than $75,000, you can not use a small estate affidavit to get the assets because one of the legal criteria for having a small estate affidavit is that there cannot be a will.
But this should help you make a decision, having this information, as to when you have that question, should I go to the third probate if there are little assets? And I say to you, yes, if it's less than $75,000, even counting the homestead, we don't count the homestead, then you are eligible. And it's a no court appearance and a filing fee of $200 or something in Dallas, so it is an option.