Dealing with the loss of a loved one is challenging enough without the added stress of legal procedures. However, the North Carolina Small Estate Affidavit Form is here to lighten your load, offering a streamlined approach to settling estates that might otherwise drag you through the lengthy probate process.

This is your friendly, step-by-step guide to navigating this form with ease. Whether you’re stepping into the role of executor for the first time or you’re a beneficiary eager to understand how everything works, our comprehensive guide is tailored to demystify the process.

Read on to find out how you can manage your loved one’s estate efficiently and with peace of mind, making sure that every step is legally sound and clear.

Downloading Your Form

No need for expensive e-services to file a small estate affidavit!  You can easily download your e203B Form straight from the NC Courts at https://www.nccourts.gov/assets/documents/forms/e203b.pdf Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to fill out the North Carolina Small Estate Affidavit Form (Form AOC-E-203B):

Checking the Box as Testate or Intestate

When dealing with the estate of a deceased person, it’s important to determine whether they died testate or intestate. This distinction affects how their estate will be managed and distributed. Here’s an easy guide to understanding the difference:


An individual dies testate when they have left a valid will. A will is a legal document in which a person specifies how their assets should be distributed after their death and may appoint an executor to manage the estate process. Here’s how you can determine if someone died testate:

  • Look for a Will: The most straightforward way to determine if someone died testate is to find their will. This might be kept in a safe deposit box, with a lawyer, or in a personal safe at home.
  • Check for Probate Records: If you can’t find a will, check with the local probate court. If the will has been submitted for probate, the individual died testate.
  • Legal Validation: A will must meet certain legal standards to be valid, including being signed in the presence of witnesses. Ensure the will meets North Carolina’s legal requirements.


An individual dies intestate if they pass away without a will. When this happens, state laws, known as intestacy laws, determine how the deceased’s assets will be distributed. Here’s how to handle intestacy:

  • Verify Absence of a Will: Confirm that no will exists. This might involve thorough searches through personal documents, checking with attorneys, or confirming with family members.
  • Understand State Laws: Each state has its own intestacy laws that outline a default plan for distributing assets. Typically, these laws prioritize spouses, children, and other family members.
  • Estate Administration: Without a will, a probate court will appoint an administrator to handle the distribution of the estate. This person performs a role similar to an executor.

Practical Tips

  • Keep Organized Records: Whether dealing with a testate or intestate situation, keeping organized records and documentation is crucial for smoothly navigating the process.
  • Seek Legal Advice: Estate matters can be complex, especially when determining the validity of a will or interpreting state intestacy laws. Consulting with a lawyer who specializes in estate law makes sense.
  • Communicate with Family Members: Open communication can often prevent or resolve disputes among family members during the stressful period following a loved one’s death.

By understanding whether an estate is testate or intestate, you can better prepare for the necessary legal processes and ensure the deceased’s wishes are honored or the law is followed accurately.

Information About the Decedent and the Affiant

Now let’s work on the rest of the form:

  • Decedent’s Information: At the top of the form, write the full name, street address, city, state, and zip code of the deceased (the decedent). Below that, enter the county where the decedent lived at the time of their death.
  • Date of Death: Enter the date the decedent passed away.
  • Affiant’s Information: This is where you, as the person filling out the form, provide your details. Write your name, street address, PO Box (if applicable), city, state, and zip code.
  • Attorney’s Information (If applicable): If a probate or estate administration attorney is helping you, fill in their name, address, and bar number.
  • Heirs or Beneficiaries: If the person died intestate, add the name, age, relationship to the deceased person, and address for each heir to the estate. If you have trouble identifying who the legal heirs might be, check out our informative blog, “Laws of Intestate Succession.”  If the person died testate, then you would include the beneficiaries under the Will.

Your Relationship to the Decedent’s Estate

Indicate your relationship to the decedent (e.g., heir, executor) and confirm that you are not disqualified from acting in this capacity under North Carolina law (G.S. 28A-4-2).

Who Are Heirs?

An heir is someone legally entitled to receive a part of the deceased’s estate under the state’s intestacy laws, which come into effect if the deceased died intestate (without a will). Heirs typically include the deceased’s spouse, children, and other close relatives, but the specific order of priority can vary by state.

Executor Named in the Will

An executor is a person appointed by the will of the deceased to manage the estate until its final distribution. The executor’s duties include paying off debts and taxes of the estate, managing estate assets, and distributing the assets according to the wishes outlined in the will. This role requires acting in the best interests of the estate and following the instructions left by the deceased meticulously.

Devisee Named in the Will

A devisee is an individual named in the will who is to receive a specific asset or set of assets. These assets can include real property, money, or personal possessions. The key distinction between a devisee and an heir is that a devisee is named specifically in the will, whereas an heir is designated by law in the absence of a will or in parts of the will where beneficiaries are not explicitly named.


An administrator is appointed by the court to administer the estate in cases where no will exists, the will does not name an executor, or the named executor is unable to serve. The administrator has a duty to locate all possible heirs and creditors, liquidate assets as necessary, pay debts, and distribute the remaining assets according to state law.

Creditor of the Decedent’s Estate

A creditor is an individual or entity to whom the decedent owed money. Creditors can file claims against the estate to recover what is owed to them. The executor or administrator is responsible for validating these claims and paying them from the estate’s assets before distributing the remaining assets to heirs or devisees.


  • Heirs are designated by law and stand to inherit under intestacy laws.
  • Executors are tasked with managing the estate as per the will’s instructions.
  • Devisees are specifically named in the will to receive particular assets.
  • Administrators step in to manage the estate when no executor is named, or no will exists.
  • Creditors have claims on the estate for debts incurred by the decedent.

Each role is essential in the process of settling an estate, ensuring that debts are paid, legal requirements are met, and the decedent’s wishes or the law’s mandates are followed in the distribution of the estate’s assets.

Statement of Facts

  • Waiting Period: Confirm that at least 30 days have passed since the decedent’s death.
  • Value of Personal Property:
    • If the decedent was not married or there is no surviving spouse claiming the property, check if the total value of personal property, after deductions, is $20,000 or less.
    • If you are the surviving spouse and sole heir, check if the total value, after deductions, is $30,000 or less.
  • Attachment of Will: If the decedent had a will, check the box and ensure a copy of the probated will is attached, especially if it’s needed for real estate matters.
  • No Pending Applications: Confirm that no applications for appointing a personal representative are pending or have been granted elsewhere.
  • List of Heirs or Beneficiaries: After making diligent inquiries, list all persons entitled to share in the estate. Include their names, ages, relationships, and mailing addresses. If any of them have a court-appointed guardian, attach a separate sheet with this information.
  • Your Status: You must be an heir, an executor named in the will, a devisee named in the will, or the public administrator, which is a public office held by an attorney that steps in to handle estates usually when there is no one else suitable to serve.

Personal Property and Estate Details

Accounts and Property

List any bank accounts, real estate, stocks, bonds, vehicles, and other personal property owned by the decedent, specifying the type and balance/value as of the date of death. Avoid listing full account numbers for privacy reasons and to comply with court rules.

Total Value

Sum up the values listed to provide a total for both Part I (property directly owned) and Part II (property that can be added to the estate to pay claims).


Once all sections are completed, the form needs to be sworn and signed in front of a notary public or other authorized officer, such as a clerk of court. You will sign the form, and then the notary or officer will fill in their part, including the date and their commission expiration, and apply their seal.

Final Steps: Submit the Form

After completing and signing the form, submit it in the county of NC where the person died. Keep copies for your records and for any other relevant parties, such as beneficiaries or legal advisors. While you can follow the steps and fill out your own form, working with an estate administration attorney can simplify the estate settlement process.

We Can Help

If you have any questions about the probate or small estate affidavit form, we are here to help! At Hopler, Wilms, and Hanna, our experienced probate court and estate administration attorneys can walk you through each step. We get that the process of settling a loved one’s estate can be daunting or downright difficult. That’s why we are here to make the process easier for you, no matter the situation you face. Get in touch with us today and find out how much simpler it all can be!

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