If you are a surviving spouse or descendant of someone who has passed away with a small amount of property, or you are the executor of an estate with minimal assets, the probate process can be unnecessarily expensive and time-consuming. Fortunately for those in South Dakota, there is a simplified process for small estates that makes it easier on all parties involved.

South Dakota law permits some legal heirs to avoid probate using a small estate affidavit — a written statement signed under oath asserting they are entitled to inherit a particular asset. However, this process is available only when the value of the estate’s assets is $50,000 or less, the deceased did not own any real property, and the deceased did not accrue any debt to the Department of Social Services for medical assistance received during their lifetime.

Once the individual or institution that is holding the asset receives a copy of the affidavit and the death certificate, it can release the property to the claiming party. For example, if the deceased owned a bank account that was not jointly held, the heir could submit the affidavit and death certificate to the bank to withdraw the funds. This way, heirs can get the property they are entitled to receive without ever setting foot in a courtroom.

If you believe a simplified probate process might be the right choice for your loved one’s small estate or you need assistance with the formal probate process, the estate administration attorneys at Anker Law Group in Rapid City, South Dakota, can review your circumstances and advise on the best way to proceed. Give us a call at 605-519-5967 or contact us online to schedule an appointment with an experienced legal professional.

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Office Location

  • Rapid City Office


    1301 West Omaha Street
    Suite 207
    Rapid City, South Dakota 57701