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Utah Small Estates Affidavit - Salt Lake Probate Attorney 

If you have not executed a living trust in conjunction with your last will and testament, it is likely that Utah law will require your estate to go through probate. There is a sometimes overlooked exception to the probate requirement that is provided by Utah Code 75-3-1201, which governs the collection of property using a tool often referred to as a "small estates affidavit." Under Utah law, an estate may qualify for this probate exception if its value (after deducting liens and encumbrances) does not exceed $100,000. A small estates affidavit can also be used to transfer title of up to four (4) motor vehicles, boats, trailers, or semitrailers.

What are the required contents of a small estates affidavit in Utah?

Utah Code 75-3-1201 sets forth the conditions under which a small estates affidavit can be used, as well as the required contents of the affidavit itself. The affidavit must establish that at least 30 days have elapsed since the death of the decedent, that no probate action has been filed seeking the appointment of a personal representative in connection with the decedent’s estate, that the affiant (the person signing the affidavit) is the person lawful successor to the decedent and entitled to payment or delivery of the property, and that the value of the estate meets the statutory requirements. The affidavit also must be notarized.

Can I use a small estates affidavit to transfer title to real property in Utah?

The provisions of Utah Code 75-3-1201 governing the use of a small estates affidavit do not apply to the transfer of real property (land, house, etc.) following the death of an owner. Unless the property is held under a trust or in joint tenancy, a probate action will be required. In the probate action, a court may issue letters testamentary or letters of administration to the decedent’s personal representative. Using these letters, the personal representative can then execute and record a deed transferring title to property held by the decedent. A small estates affidavit cannot be used to transfer title to real property, regardless of the size of the decedent’s estate and regardless of the value of the real property.

Can I use a small estates affidavit in Utah if the decedent did not leave a will?

A small estates affidavit can be used in Utah, whether or not the decedent left a last will and testament. If the decedent did not leave a will, then the personal representative must use the small estates affidavit to collect, distribute, or dispose of the estate property according to Utah’s rules regarding intestate succession. If the decedent did not leave a will, then the collection, distribution, and disposition of the estate property must be done in accordance with the terms and instructions of the decedent’s will.

Contacting a Utah Wills and Trusts Lawyer in Salt Lake City

Utah estate planning attorney Stephen Howard can assist you in preparing, executing, and notarizing a small estates affidavit. Mr. Howard also assists clients in creating personalized estate plans, including wills, trusts, durable powers of attorney, and advance health care directives. To arrange for an initial consultation, contact us today.

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Serving Salt Lake, Davis, Weber, Utah, Cache, Tooele, Summit, Box Elder, Morgan, and Wasatch Counties - and all of Utah.

Stephen W. Howard is Utah attorney, practicing as part of the Canyons Law Group, LLC.
With offices in Salt Lake and Davis Counties, we are pleased to provide legal services to clients throughout Utah.
Call 801-449-1409 to arrange for a confidential initial consultation.

Stephen W. Howard, PC

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