When you do not create an adequate estate plan, your property may have to go through the probate process once you die. But what can you do to avoid this lengthy and expensive process? There are several ways you can choose to avoid probate. One of the methods is by using an affidavit of the Illinois Small Estate.

So how does it work? The state of Illinois allows estates that are worth less than $100,000 to avoid the probate process. You, however, need to file a small estate affidavit if you are the executor of the will.

When compiling the affidavit, you have to include all the decedent’s personal properties. Some assets that do not qualify to be on this list include retirement plans, transferred on death deeds and brokerage accounts. You should as well avoid assets that are in a joint tenancy or bank accounts that are payable upon death.

You should provide a copy of the decedent’s will together with a copy of the death certificate. But what happens if the decedent does not leave a will behind? The court appoints a representative to identify all the beneficiaries that are entitled by the intestate succession laws to inherit the property.

According to Legalzoom, when there is a will, the executor needs to file it within 30 days of the death of the estate owner. Any dispute that arises between the heirs or beneficiaries will automatically disqualify the use of a small estate affidavit.

In the small estate affidavit, the manner of asset distribution does not change. Everything begins with the settling of the funeral bill. Then, the surviving child or spouse receives the award first. The other beneficiaries will follow according to the will or the intestate laws.