Requirements for Filing a Small Estate Affidavit in Georgia

By Brette Sember, J.D.

Requirements for Filing a Small Estate Affidavit in Georgia

By Brette Sember, J.D.

When a person dies without a will in Georgia, their estate is distributed through a formal process called administration. The probate court appoints an administrator, also referred to as a personal representative in Georgia, who gathers the assets, pays the debts, and distributes the remaining assets to the heirs determined by state statute. Administration can be a lengthy process. Because of this, Georgia offers simplified options to distribute assets more quickly to heirs.

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The following are two different ways you can administer assets yourself. If you prefer, you can also use an online service provider to help with the process.

Bank Account Distribution

One method to avoid a court proceeding in Georgia is to directly access the decedent's bank account. This procedure is only available if the account has $10,000 or less in it. A Banking Affidavit of Surviving Relative Intestate Estate (No Will) can be used by:

  • The surviving spouse
  • The children (if there is no surviving spouse), who receive the assets pro rata
  • The father and mother (if no children or surviving spouse), who receive the assets pro rata
  • The brothers and sisters of the decedent (if none of the above applies), who receive the assets pro rata

To access the bank account:

  1. Download the form using the link above.
  2. Fill in the name of the county where the decedent resided.
  3. Complete the name and address of the decedent.
  4. Fill in the name and address of the bank.
  5. Under number 2, fill in your relationship to the decedent and the date of death.
  6. Sign the affidavit before a notary.
  7. Give the form to the bank and request that they release the account funds to you.

Simplified Estate Proceeding

Another option is to petition for a simplified estate proceeding, where the entire estate avoids administration and is released immediately to heirs. To qualify for the simplified estate proceeding in Georgia:

  • All the heirs determined by the state laws must agree how to divide the estate.
  • The estate must have no debts or, if there are debts, the creditors must agree to the small estate proceeding.
  • There must be no will.

Completing the Petition

There is no limitation on the total dollar amount of assets in the estate to utilize this proceeding. To apply, any heir can complete a Petition for Order Declaring No Administration Necessary. Complete the form as follows:

  1. Fill in the county in which the form is being filed, which should be the county where the decedent lived.
  2. Fill in the decedent's name for "Estate of."
  3. If there is an estate number already issued, fill it in. Otherwise, leave this portion blank.
  4. Fill in your name and address after "The Petition of."
  5. Fill in the name of the decedent, their address, and date of death.
  6. In section 3, list all of the heirs, along with their ages, addresses, and relationships to the decedent.
  7. In section 4, list all deceased heirs with the name and address of the personal representative, or administrator. Explain how heirs like cousins, grandchildren, nieces, or nephews listed in section 3 are related to the deceased heirs.
  8. In section 5, list personal property owned by the decedent in Georgia.
  9. In section 6, list real property the decedent owned in Georgia.
  10. In section 7, initial any of the situations, (a)-(d), that apply. If you initial (d), fill in the names of creditors who have consented to this process.
  11. Sign the document, then print your name, address, and phone number. If you have an attorney, have her complete the attorney section. If you do not, leave this section blank.

Complete the Verification page in front of a notary.

Completing the Agreement and Acknowledgement

Next, complete the Agreement and Acknowledgement of Service and Consent as follows:

  1. At the top of the page, fill in the county, decedent's name, and estate number, if you have one.
  2. In the first box, list all the heirs.
  3. Complete a section for each heir, indicating name, address, date of birth, and the interest or percentage that person will receive from the estate.
  4. In the next large box, list a legal description and location of real property owned by the decedent.
  5. Have all heirs and creditors sign the document in front of a notary.
  6. Submit the Order for Service of Notice with the county, with the decedent's name and estate number, if one has been previously issued. The court will complete the form and indicate what type of notice you must give, such as publication in a newspaper.
  7. Once you have completed the notice requirements given by the court, complete the Certificate of Service. Leave the Final Order and Certification forms blank except for completing the headers. The remainders of the forms will be completed by the court.
  8. Submit the documents to the court.

Once the court issues the order, the assets can be distributed as directed among the heirs.

This portion of the site is for informational purposes only. The content is not legal advice. The statements and opinions are the expression of author, not LegalZoom, and have not been evaluated by LegalZoom for accuracy, completeness, or changes in the law.