TN 10 (07-13)
GN 02315.044 Delaware Small Estates
A. Policy for no court proceedings in Delaware
1. Conditions for collecting and distributing estate assets
The Delaware Small Estate Statute, 12 Delaware Code, sections 2306-2307, provides that a spouse, grandparent, lineal descendant of a grandparent of the deceased, the personal representative of any of the foregoing who might be deceased, or the guardian or trustee of any of the foregoing who may be incapacitated, or the trustee of a trust created by the decedent, a funeral director licensed in Delaware, or the named executor(s) in the decedent’s will shall be entitled to collect and distribute estate assets that do not exceed $30,000 without court proceedings to probate a will or appoint an administrator. The statute applies whether the decedent died testate or intestate. The statute does not require contact with a court or filing of papers with a court clerk.
2. Affidavit requirements for Delaware small estates
The procedure to qualify as a legal representative of the estate calls for presenting to the property holder an affidavit by the claimant stating that:
his or her relationship to the decedent falls within one of the permitted classes set forth above;
no petition for the appointment of a personal representative is pending or has been granted;
30 days have elapsed since the death of the decedent;
the value of the entire assets of the personal estate, not including exempt property and jointly owned property, does not exceed $30,000;
all known debts have been paid or provided for;
the surviving spouse allowance has been paid, provided for, waived, or has expired by lapse of time; and
the decedent did not own solely owned real estate.
B. Procedure for Delaware small estates
Upon receipt of an affidavit complying with the foregoing requirements, SSA may make payment and will receive good acquittance for the debt due to the decedent's estate. Should more than one of the above-named individuals claim the underpayment on behalf of the estate before payment has been made, follow this order of preference: named executor(s) in the decedent’s will, spouse, any child, any parent, any sibling, any grandchild or grandparent of the decedent, or a funeral director licensed in Delaware. If other claims should be filed after SSA paid the underpayment on the basis of proper affidavit, SSA would have no further liability. The individual SSA pays will be accountable to one having a prior right as well as to a legal representative who should thereafter be appointed.