Small Estate Probate Process Simplified - Here's What You Need To Know

Posted by smith clea on August 8th, 2022

Whether you’re planning your estate or dealing with someone else’s, you probably have some questions about the probate process and how it works. 

People often think of probate as an elaborate process requiring expensive court costs and lawyers. 

But that isn’t always the case. 

There are instances where probate can be avoided altogether. 

Especially if you have a small estate to settle. 

Here’s what you need to know about the small estate probate process simplified...

The Basics

When a loved one dies, it can be difficult to know what to do next. 

If they had a small estate, the probate process may be simpler than you think. Here are some quick tips to help you through it.

Finding The Will

If the deceased left a will, it must be filed with the probate court in the county where they lived. 

The will usually names an executor, who handles carrying out the deceased's wishes. 

If you can't find the will, look for it in places where the deceased might have kept important papers, such as a home safe, attorney's office, or bank vault.

Appointing An Executor

The next part of the small estate probate process is appointing an executor. 

This is the person who will be responsible for handling the deceased person's affairs and distributing their assets according to the Will. 

The executor must be a competent adult, and it is usually someone who is named in the will. 

If there is no will, the court will appoint an administrator.

Assets Of A Small Estate

After the death of a loved one, you may be tasked with handling their estate. 

This can be a daunting process, but we're here to help. 

We'll walk you through what to do with the assets of a small estate.

First, if there are any assets in the name of more than one person (for example, two joint owners), make sure that they agree on how they want to handle them. 

For example, should they sell them or keep them? Once you've agreed with the two joint owners, then your next step is to divide those assets in half. 

One half goes into one envelope or box; the other half goes into another envelope or box.

State Regulations For Filing Fees And Probate Fees For Small Estates

To file for probate, you'll need to pay a filing fee. 

The amount of the fee will vary from state to state, but it's typically around 0.

You may also be required to pay a probate fee, which is a percentage of the estate's value. 

The probate fee is usually around 1%, but it can be as high as 5%.

If the estate is valued at less than ,000, you may not have to pay any fees.

Staying On Top Of Everything Throughout The Process

Now that you know the basics of the small estate probate process, it's time to focus on staying organized and on top of everything throughout the process. 

Here are a few tips to keep in mind as you move through this process:

  • Don't be afraid to delegate responsibilities to someone else if you don't have enough time or energy to do it yourself.
  • Be sure to ask for help when needed! The more people who know about what needs to be done, the easier things will go.
  • Keep copies of all documents. Copies can always be emailed or faxed around if need be.


The small estate probate process can be complicated, but it doesn't have to be. 

With a little bit of planning and the help of an experienced attorney, you can make it through the process with ease.

About The Author

Clea Smith is a USA-based author on Legal issues related to estate planning, will & trust, business law, and elder law. Clea Smith does her best writing on these topics that help users to find the best solutions to their FAQ on estate planning attorney, probate, living trust vs will, and more about legal family issues.

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smith clea
Joined: February 6th, 2020
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