Small estates and the rights of persons claiming payment under them are defined in
Title 43 of the Alabama Small Estates Act of 1975 (Ala. Code §§ 43-2-690 to 43-2-696
(2014)). A “distributee” of a small estate is defined in § 43-2-691 as any person
entitled to the personal property of a decedent (i.e., the underpayment) under a will
or under an Alabama descent and distribution statute (such as this section). A distributee
may claim his or her rights under § 43-2-692 without awaiting the appointment of a
personal representative whenever the conditions of § 43-2-692(b) below are met, by
filing a verified petition for summary distribution of the estate.
NOTE: The verified petition must describe the decedent’s estate and allege satisfaction
of all conditions of § 43-2-692(b), showing that the distributee is entitled to the
decedent’s personal property without administration, see POMS GN 02315.036C in this section. The distributee files the verified petition for summary distribution
in the county probate judge’s office in which the decedent was domiciled at death.
When the distributee’s verified petition demonstrates satisfaction of all the applicable
conditions in § 43-2-692(b), the judge of the Probate Court will issue an order of
summary distribution (§ 43-2-693). Presentation of a copy of the order of summary
distribution, together with a copy of the decedent’s will if the claim is under such
will, will entitle a distributee to have the decedent’s personal property transferred
to him or her by any person owing money to the decedent’s estate (§43-2-694).