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Alabama Small Estates Act

Alabama Small Estates Act

GENERAL INFORMATION
ABOUT THE ALABAMA SMALL ESTATES ACT 
AND SUMMARY DISTRIBUTIONS

WHAT IS THE “ALABAMA SMALL ESTATES ACT”?

  • This Act was passed in 1979 and later amended in 2009. It is codified as Ala. Code §§ 43-2-690, et seq. (1975).
  • This Act provides a method, through a court proceeding, to distribute personal property of a deceased person in a summary distribution manner to a surviving spouse, or appropriate distributees of the decedent, without full probate administration.

WHAT ARE THE VALUE LIMITS FOR SUMMARY DISTRIBUTION UNDER THIS ACT?

  • The value of the entire decedent’s estate (personal property) shall not exceed $ 25,000. This figure is subject to adjustment by the State Finance Director on an annual basis for changes in the Consumer Price Index. Please note that real property cannot be administered under this Act. (This adjusted figure equals $30,608.00 for 2021)

WHAT IS REQUIRED TO INITIATE A SUMMARY DISTRIBUTION UNDER THE “ALABAMA SMALL ESTATES ACT” IN MOBILE COUNTY?

  • A written petition under oath in proper form to be filed with the Probate Court by the surviving spouse of the decedent, or if none, by one or more of the distributees entitled to the personal assets of the estate.
  • Proof of death of the subject party (decedent).
  • Decedent must have been a resident of Mobile County (confirm).
  • Confirm that no petition is pending for administration or has been granted.
  • The status at the date of death: Intestate (No Will) or Testate (Will).
  • If testate, the original purported Will must be submitted to the Court.
  • The names/addresses/ages of the surviving spouse, children and distributees.
  • Details on claims and funeral expenses and the status on each (paid/unpaid).
  • An itemized listing of the assets of the estate with a value of each asset.
  • Initial filing fee/court costs of $50, payable to the Probate Court of Mobile County. Note that the total court costs may exceed $50. Any excess court costs beyond $50 will be billed later.

Each item noted must be addressed in the petition by proper statement(s), with details and explanations.

ADDITIONAL MATTERS/COMMENTS:

  • A heirship chart may be necessary, if requested by the Court.
  • Publication costs will be incurred, to be paid directly by the petitioner. The Court will provide information on publication once the petition is filed and accepted.
  • Upon compliance with all provisions of the “Alabama Small Estates Act”, an order and decree will be issued directing certain actions with regard to the decedent’s assets, including orders for distribution of said assets. Should it be determined by the Court that other proceedings are necessary before a final order can be entered, the attorney and petitioner will be advised.

Note: By Law, the Probate Court and its staff are not permitted to give legal advice or provide any forms. If you are seeking action under the “Alabama Small Estates Act” and the summary distribution procedures, it is suggested that you obtain the assistance of an attorney to prepare and file the necessary paperwork with the Probate Court and provide representation generally for this proceeding.

THIS INFORMATION PAGE, WHICH IS BASED ON ALABAMA LAW, IS TO INFORM AND NOT TO ADVISE. NO PERSON SHOULD EVER APPLY OR INTERPRET ANY LAW WITHOUT THE AID OF AN ATTORNEY WHO ANALYZES THE FACTS, BECAUSE THE FACTS MAY CHANGE THE APPLICATION OF THE LAW.

NOTICE FROM PROBATE COURT
Don Davis, Judge of Probate
April 5, 2011
Re: Small Estates/Summary Distribution Valuation Up-Date
Pursuant to Ala. Code §43-2-692(b)(1), the State Finance Director has now issued notice to the judges of probate revising the established limits for the administration of small estates in response to adjustments in the Consumer Price Index. The figures provided to the Probate Court are as follows:

For 2010 $25,410
For 2011 $25,791
For 2012 $26,616
For 2013 $27,175
For 2014 $27,583
For 2015 $28,024
For 2016 $28,052
For 2017 $28,417
For 2018 $29,014
For 2019 $29,710
For 2020 $30,245
For 2021 $30,608

In utilizing this information, the State Finance Director has stated:

“Because the CPI-U for a calendar year is not published until January of the succeeding year, the adjustment provided will reflect the change for the previous calendar year, but will be effective for twelve months beginning the following March 1. For example, the value of $25,791 established for 2011 will be used for the period March 1, 2011 through February 29th, 2012.”
 
Please remember that information regarding the “Small Estates Act” and Summary Distribution thereunder is located on the Probate Court’s web site under the Judicial Section. Forms to use in small estates are also provided to attorneys only on the Court’s web site - probate.mobilecountyal.gov