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Small Estate Procedures – Kansas vs. Missouri

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Small estate procedures in the Probate Courts in the Kansas City area differ greatly.  Of the two states, Kansas’ procedure is much simpler and does not require a court filing.  An “Affidavit of Heirship” form is completed by the family and presented to parties holding property belonging to the decedent.  This procedure allows for the gathering of a small estate with a value of up to $40,000.  This process can be used to gain access to bank accounts and change title to motor vehicles in Kansas.  WM Law can guide Kansas estate executors and personal representatives through the process.  It is much cheaper and simpler than a full administration of a probate estate, thankfully.
In Missouri, the process for smaller estates is much more complicated, but it still is cheaper and simpler than a full estate administration.  There are actually 5 different procedures that can be used in Missouri to handle smaller estates:
Refusal of Letters to Surviving Spouse and/or Minor Children pursuant to Revised Statutes of Missouri (RSMO) Section 473.090
Refusal of Letters to Creditor pursuant to RSMO Section 473.090.1(2)
Termination of Administration pursuant to RSMO 473.092
Small Estate Procedure pursuant to RSMO 473.097
Determination of Heirship pursuant to RSMO 473.663
These 5 distinct Missouri procedures to handle a small estate have differing parameters and requirements and limitations.  For example, Refusal of Letters to Creditor has a limitation of $15,000 for the estate value whereas the Small Estate Procedure of RSMO 473.097 has a limitation of $40,000.  The Small Estate Procedure of RSMO 473.097 often requires that the estate representative obtain a bond, however, whereas the Determination of Heirship of RSMO 473.663 does not require a bond.  But, it does require a notice be published in an approved publication (which involves an additional expense).  Just as we do for our Kansas clients, WM Law can help you through the smaller estate procedures in Missouri as well.  Although more complicated and requiring a court filing, it is a simple process for us nonetheless.