Q: My sister passed away a few months ago and we are needing to set up a estate. I found a form online but need help.
Hello, thank you for taking the time to hopefully answer my questions. My sister passed away a few months ago and we are working to wrap up a few things. She has some benefits, paychecks, 401k etc. from her job and they are saying that we need to set up a small estate. She lived and passed in Kansas and we live in Texas. We wanted to know what paperwork we needed to fill out, how do we file it, how long does it take, and do we need a lawyer to do it because we really don’t have the money that we can spare right now. Please help!
There are several options for small estates, depending upon the size of the estate and the type of assets involved. You should be able to find legal counsel who will provide a free consultation to determine your options and identify the cost. If there are sufficient assets in the estate, you should be able to find an attorney who will work with you on the fees and expenses that anticipates some payment from the assets of the estate.
If the estate has more assets than $40,000 (or real property), then a small estates affidavit (K.S.A. 59-1507b) would not be suitable. If the estate has $50,000 or less in assets, there is a process called Refusal to Grant Letters that may suffice. If the estate assets and liabilities are known, there is a process called informal administration that may allow for an informal administration with a minimum of cost. If the assets and liabilities are not known but administration is required, then a simplified administration may be the lowest cost option of there is consensus among the heirs at law (or the legatees and devisees if there is a will). If there is no urgency, no need for administration, and you could wait until six months from the date of death, a determination of descent may be a good option. Please feel free to reach out if you have questions.
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