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Simplified Probate Processes for Small Estates in Kansas

Probate is the formal process by which the property and assets of a deceased person are distributed to heirs and beneficiaries following death. The probate court opens the estate and appoints an administrator who may have been pre-designated by the decedent in the person’s will. The administrator inventories the assets, pays any legitimate debts and distributes the remaining assets to the heirs and beneficiaries after payment of fees and costs. This can be a lengthy and expensive process, and one people may want to avoid when possible. There is a variety of probate modalities in Kansas and the more lengthy process may, depending on circumstances, be abbreviated or, in some cases, avoided altogether.

One means by which formal probate may be avoided is by use of what is called a “small estate affidavit” This can be used if the following conditions exist:

  1. The value of their entire estate is less than $75,000
  2. There is no real property to be distributed
  3. No application for appointment of an estate representative pending at the time, then.

In other cases, the estate may qualify for “simplified administration” under Kansas law. With simplified administration, the estate goes through all of the usual steps of probate, however, many of the activities associated with the administration are done without court supervision and the estate representative is permitted to complete certain steps without obtaining court orders.

There is no absolute right to simplified probate. The probate court has discretion to grant or to deny simplified administration. In making its decision, the court considers several factors, including:

  • The amount of assets and debts that are part of the estate
  • The projected probate costs versus the size of the estate
  • Whether the beneficiaries are close and have good relationships
  • Whether the beneficiaries consent to simplified administration

An experienced probate attorney can advise you on the need for probate and, if so, the variety of probate procedures available in modern probate practice and which best fit the circumstances of your family.

Peggs Wheeler, LC helps clients with the probate and estate administration across the greater Wichita, Kansas region. If you have a probate issue, feel free to contact us online or call 316-512-7853 for an initial consultation.