In the District of Columbia, a decedent who passes away on or after April 27, 2001 may qualify for probate administration as a small estate if the estate is valued at $40,000 or less. The personal representative of a small estate is not required to have legal representation or give a bond and the personal representative is not entitle to any type of compensation. However, if the personal representative were to attain counsel, then compensation may be provided for his/her legal services.
An eligible person may file a petition for appointment as personal representative of the small estate. The eligible person must have important documents such as the decedent’s will, original funeral bills, a list of the decedent’s assets, outstanding bills of the decedent, and information regarding the decedent’s marital status at the time of death and whether the decedent has any minor children in order to meet with the small estate specialist.
If there is more property remaining after funeral expenses and the payments of family allowance, homestead allowance and exempt property have been allocated, the court would then admit the will to probate. After a 30 day notice period of admitting the estate to probate, the personal representative needs to file a list of all claims and their amounts and if these claims satisfy all the court’s requirements, the court may grant the personal representative power to make distributions according to the will or heirs.
In the circumstance where a personal representative locates additional assets of the decedent’s property after the petition has been filed, a supplemental petition may be immediately delivered. However, if the amount of the estate increases over $40,000 threshold, the proceeding would no longer be eligible as a small estate process.
Peter D. Antonoplos, Esq. is a partner in the Law Offices of Peter D. Antonoplos, PLLC. Mr. Antonoplos’ practice focuses estate planning and real estate matters. Mr. Antonoplos is admitted to practice in the District of Columbia, New York State; and State of Maryland. Mr. Antonoplos routinely lectures on real estate and probate law issues in Washington, DC and New York. Mr. Antonoplos lives in North West Washington, D.C. He is an avid chess player and motorcycle enthusiast. He may be reached at 202-803-5676 or [email protected]