Small Estates Summary Distribution Instructions
Sections 43-2-691, 43-2-692, and 43-2-693
Code of Alabama, 1975, as amended (Alabama Small Estates Act)
A Summary distribution may be filed in cases that meet the criteria of the Alabama Small Estates Act (43-2-690). The value of the entire estate, based on date of death values, must not exceed the following:
Note: The summary distribution amount is determined annually by the State Finance Director pursuant to Code of Alabama Section 43-2-692(b)(1) and is based on the CPI-U (Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers) database published by the U.S. Department of Labor. The summary distribution amount for a given year is effective for the period of March 1 through February 28 of the following year (Feb. 29 in a leap year). For example, the threshold of $30,245 to be eligible for summary distribution is effective for the period March 1, 2020 through February 28, 2021.
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 a lawyer who analyzes the facts, because the facts may change the application of the law.
- Bond is not required on the Petitions for Summary Distribution 43-2-692 (a).
- In testate estates, a document purporting to be the will, on its face, is properly executed, witnessed, and attested in compliance with Alabama law, and has been duly filed in the office of the judge of probate. 43-2-692 (7).
- In intestate estates, a hearing to take testimony regarding heirs of the estate will be scheduled and the awards due under Alabama descent and distribution statutes to the surviving spouse and to the child or children must have been determined by the judge of probate. 43-2-692 (6). You will need waivers of notice of the hearing from the next of kin.
The following conditions must be met:
- The value of the entire estate consisting of personal property does not exceed $25,000.00, as adjusted.
- The petitioner must be the surviving spouse or distributee.
- The decedent must be a resident of Jefferson County, Alabama.
- No other petition has been filed or granted.
- At least 30 days must have elapsed from the date of publication before the petition can be granted and the order issued.
- All funeral expenses must be paid (or arrangements made for payment).
- The decedent owned no real property at the time of his or her death for which title does not pass by operation of law.
- All claims against the decedent’s estate have been paid or arrangements have been made for payment.