How to File a Small Estate Affidavit in Cook County, Illinois

By Grayson Charles
An estate proceeding settles the financial affairs of the deceased and authorizes the distribution of assets.

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A small estate affidavit is used in Cook County, Illinois to settle an estate whose total value is less than $100,000. The affidavit is made under penalty of perjury. If any disputes or claims are expected against the estate, a small estate affidavit cannot be used. A small estate affidavit is used to avoid a probate proceeding and the appointment of an estate representative. A probate proceeding is usually required to settle an estate and distribute the assets of a deceased individual.

Determine the value of the estate and file the original will if there is one. The estate value cannot exceed $100,000. Paragraph six of the affidavit requires a statement of the value of the estate and requires that a list of the assets be attached along with the fair market value of each item listed. Paragraph ten of the affidavit requires information as to the status of a will for the deceased. It requires a statement that the will is on file with the court, if there is one. It also requires that a certified copy be attached to the affidavit.

Identify the creditors of the estate. Paragraphs seven and eight require the person making the affidavit to identify creditors and make a statement that there are no contested claims. If there are any contested claims, you cannot use the small estate affidavit.

Research the records of the Cook county probate court. Determine that there are no open probate proceedings for the deceased and that the court has not issued letters of office appointing an executor or administrator of the deceased's estate. This is a representation that is made in paragraph five of the affidavit.

Make sure that there are no pending disputes between the heirs of the estate. Paragraph 10, section (c) of the affidavit is a representation that there are no such disputes. If there are any such disputes, you cannot use the small estate affidavit.

Complete the form and file it with the Cook County Clerk. You can obtain a copy of the affidavit from the Cook county website. State how the assets will be distributed in paragraph 11 of the affidavit. Attach a copy of the death certificate, as required in paragraph three of the affidavit. The filing fee is $319 for estates valued over $15,000 and $159 for estate valued at less than $15,000.

About the Author

Grayson Charles has been writing and editing since 1986. He enjoys writing technical articles in the areas of government, law, public policy, computers and the impact of the Internet on society. He was previously a freelance writer for "Panacea Magazine." Charles holds a Bachelor of Arts in philosophy from the State University of New York at Albany.

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