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Searching 2023-2024 Session

The Vermont Statutes Online

The Vermont Statutes Online have been updated to include the actions of the 2023 session of the General Assembly.

NOTE: The Vermont Statutes Online is an unofficial copy of the Vermont Statutes Annotated that is provided as a convenience.

Title 14: Decedents Estates and Fiduciary Relations

Chapter 081: Small Estates

  • § 1901. Commencement of small estate

    (a) When a decedent’s estate has a fair market value of not more than $45,000.00 and consists entirely of personal property, provided that the estate may include a time-share estate as defined by 32 V.S.A. § 3619(a), an estate may be commenced by filing:

    (1) a petition to open a probate estate;

    (2) a list of interested persons;

    (3) the filing fee;

    (4) an original death certificate;

    (5) an inventory of the estate, including information or estimates available at the time of filing;

    (6) an affidavit of paid and outstanding funeral expenses and any other known or reasonably ascertainable debts of the decedent;

    (7) a bond without surety in the amount of the fair market value of the estate; and

    (8) the will, if any.

    (b) An interested party who does not consent to the small estate proceeding in writing shall be provided with notice of the petition and the pending fiduciary appointment and may file any objections with the court within 14 days after receiving the notice. If no objections are filed, the fiduciary appointment and any will offered for admission shall be approved by the court without further notice or hearing.

    (c) If, after an estate is opened pursuant to subsection (a) of this section, it is determined that the value of the decedent’s estate at the time of his or her death exceeded $45,000.00, the fiduciary shall petition the court to order that the estate be administered pursuant to the laws and rules applicable to estates with a fair market value in excess of $45,000.00. The court shall grant the petition if it finds that the estate has a fair market value in excess of $45,000.00 and that all applicable fees have been paid. (Amended 1975, No. 240 (Adj. Sess.), § 10; 2009, No. 75 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; 2019, No. 36, § 1.)

  • § 1902. Letters of administration, small estates, notice

    (a) When a small estate is commenced pursuant to section 1901 of this title:

    (1) If the decedent had a will, the will shall be admitted and letters of administration shall be issued as provided in section 902 of this title.

    (2) If the decedent did not have a will, letters of administration shall be issued as provided in section 903 of this title.

    (b) Within 60 days after the issuance of letters of administration, and at any time thereafter if deemed necessary by the fiduciary, the fiduciary shall confirm, correct, or supplement the inventory filed with the petition.

    (c) Letters of administration issued pursuant to this section shall be effective for one year after the date of issuance. The court may extend the one-year duration upon motion of the fiduciary for good cause shown. (Added 1975, No. 240 (Adj. Sess.), § 10; amended 1981, No. 150 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; 2009, No. 75 (Adj. Sess.), § 2; 2013, No. 102 (Adj. Sess.), § 5; 2019, No. 36, § 1.)

  • § 1903. Same; discharge upon payment of funeral expenses; residue

    (a)(1) If it appears from the record that the estate is insolvent, the fiduciary shall apply for an order of dividend from the court. If the estate is not insolvent, the fiduciary shall make payment in settlement with all known or reasonably ascertainable creditors, including payment of income taxes due for the year of the decedent’s death, and pay any remaining balance to the beneficiaries of the estate as provided by the will, if any, or as otherwise provided by law.

    (2) Upon completion of the payments required by subdivision (1) of this subsection, the fiduciary shall file with the court a sworn statement setting forth the amounts and recipients of each payment.

    (b) The court may discharge the fiduciary without further accounting and without notice after the fiduciary has completed the requirements of subsection (a) of this section.

    (c) If a discharge is given under this section, any assets distributed by the fiduciary shall be subject to claims later established, and sections 1202 and 1203 of this title shall apply, but the executors or administrators shall not be liable to distributees for losses to them when required to reimburse creditors. Each distributee shall have a duty of proportionate contribution for any claims brought against one or more other distributees, not to exceed the amount received by the distributee from the estate. (Added 1975, No. 240 (Adj. Sess.), § 10; amended 1981, No. 150 (Adj. Sess.), § 2; 2009, No. 75 (Adj. Sess.), § 3; 2019, No. 36, § 1.)