Can a one-asset estate be handled with an affidavit?

Dear Ms. Allison: My mother’s estate consists only of her home titled in joint tenancy with right of survivorship (along with myself) and her personal property within the home. Can the estate be settled with affidavits only? Is there a fixed fee for this service? RH in Tulsa

Dear RH:

So sorry for your loss.

Yes, this kind of small estate can be handled simply. Take an original, certified death certificate to the courthouse with your signed, notarized affidavit. Record them and you are done.

Of course, our firm does this service, but I hear that, depending on the county, the staff in the deeds office may be able to help you do it without an attorney. Please note: that could be a myth, since I have never confirmed it.

For the law firm to do it, we have to draft the affidavit and proof it twice, notarize your signature, etc. We charge for our time to do it, so it runs a few hundred dollars–most of it spent dealing with you, proofreading documents, taking them to the courthouse and recording them.

If your mother was not married at the time of her death and you are her only child, the personal property (the items without titles) is yours without needing to do anything further.

To your success, Gale Allison, Estate Attorney

*Originally published in March 2017 in the Gale Allison, PLLC website Asked & Answered blog based on questions from the public. Tags: No Will, Intestate, Property transfer, and Probate. Gale Allison handles estate matters only: Probate, Estate or Trust Administration; Estate Litigation; Estate Planning; Business Succession Planning; and Estate-related Tax Issues in Tulsa, OK. She also mediates Estate and Family disputes nationally, exclusively through Dispute Resolution Consultants (DRC-OK).

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Gale Allison, JD, LLM, AEP®

Licensed since 1976

Member at firm Gale Allison, PLLC

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Licensed since 1976

Member at firm Gale Allison, PLLC

AWARDS

AV Preeminent

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