Public Act 98-0836 (IL)

Small Estate Affidavit

Effective date: January 1, 2015

Statutes Amended – 755 ILCS 5/25-1 and 15/1


An amendment is made to the Small Estate Affidavit section of the Illinois Probate Act. The new Small Estate Affidavit form and the rules and procedures for using it apply to decedent's who died on or after January 1, 2015. The existing form is still used for small estates with dates of death in 2014 or earlier. What remains unchanged with the new form is that the maximum value of the decedent's entire personal estate cannot exceed $100,000.

The law now requires that a person executing a small estate affidavit to list and classify all known unpaid debts and pay those debts prior to any distribution made to heirs or legatees. Moreover, if the decedent’s estate has insufficient funds to pay all unpaid debts then the claims shall be paid pro rata. Whereas the old form only listed unpaid funeral expenses, the new form provides a list of different classes of unpaid claims in addition to funeral expenses, including surviving spouse's award or child's award, debts due to the United States, money due employees, money held in trust, debts due to the state, and a catch-all for all other claims.  

The amendment also requires the affiant to describe their relationship to the decedent. Additionally, the new form states that by signing the affidavit, the affiant agrees to indemnify and hold harmless all others who incur any loss due to their reliance on the affidavit, up to the amount lost, and entitle those recovering under the indemnification to reasonable attorney’s fees and the expense of recovery.

The amendment now allows the affiant to pay from the decedent's estate all the debts and expenses listed on the affidavit. The new form ends by adding a notary section.

The Act states that parties who act in good faith reliance on a document purporting to be a small estate affidavit shall be fully protected and released upon fulfillment of the requirements under the document.

Finally, the Act provides that an affiant may appoint one or more persons to access the safe deposit box of the decedent so long as the appointment is made in writing. The act also amends the Safety Deposit Box Opening Act by requiring the lessor of the deposit box to authorize a representative of the decedent’s estate designated by a small estate affidavit, letters of office or other applicable court order to open the box and examine and remove the contents.


Bill Number: 
SB 2985
By: ATG Underwriting Department | Posted on: Mon, 03/16/2015 - 11:57am