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How can I obtain a Small Estate Affidavit for Pennsylvania?

Reading, PA |

My mother passed away recently and she had a small account (under $700). The institution holding the account is requesting a Small Estate Affidavit. I am just trying to settle the estate. I am the only heir and no beneficiary was named.

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Attorney answers 4


If the decedent died in Berks County, PA see the attached link. Just contact the local register of wills to see if your estate qualifies for small estate petition. Usually the register's office staff are very helpful.

This is not legal advice nor intended to create an attorney-client relationship. The information provided here is informational in nature only. This attorney may not be licensed in the jurisdiction which you have a question about so the answer could be only general in nature. Visit Steve Zelinger's website:


Check with the Register of Wills or Clerk of Orphans Court in the County where your mother died domiciled. If it was less than $3,500 as you appear to indicate, there is a procedure where you can petition the court to settle a small estate. You can also have the funeral home present the receipt for the funeral to obtain the funds directly. Keep in mind that there will still be a need to file an inheritance tax return even if the funeral costs exceed the $700 as PA has no minimum amount at which tax is due.


You should attempt to proceed under Section 3101(b) of the Probate, Estates and Fiduciary Code. It permits a bank (and other specified financial institutions) to release up to $3,500 to the "spouse, any child..." of the deceased upon presentation of a receipted funeral bill or an affidavit by a licensed funeral director. It would be much easier than getting a small estate affidavit.

NOTE: Mr. Fischer is an attorney licensed to practice in Pennsylvania. He can be reached at 610-269-0900 Ext 2 or This answer was prepared for educational purposes only. By using this site you understand and agree that there is no attorney client relationship or confidentiality between you and the attorney responding. This site should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed attorney that practices in the subject area in your jurisdiction and with whom you have an attorney client relationship. Frequently the question does not include significant and important facts and time lines that if known could significantly change the response. The law changes frequently and varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. The information and materials provided are general in nature, and may not apply to a specific factual or legal circumstance described in the question or omitted from the question.


I'm very sorry for your loss.

I would ask the bank what they mean by a Small Estate Affidavit. It might simply be a bank form that they want you to sign affirming that the assets were less than a certain amount. However, be careful to file an Inheritance Tax return and pay the tax, and be sure to find out if there were any other debts or claims, including from DPW for Medicaid.

Disclaimer: The information posted here is for general inforamtional purposes only and does not constitute legal advice for your specific situation, and no attorney-client relationahip is formed by the posting of information here.