Code of the District of Columbia

Subchapter VI. Small Estates.


§ 20–351. General.

If the property of a decedent subject to administration in the District of Columbia has a value of $40,000 or less, the property may be administered as a small estate in accordance with the provisions of this subchapter.


(June 24, 1980, D.C. Law 3-72, § 101, 27 DCR 2155; Mar. 21, 1995, D.C. Law 10-241, § 3(q), 42 DCR 63; Apr. 27, 2001, D.C. Law 13-292, § 901, 48 DCR 2087.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 20-351.

Effect of Amendments

D.C. Law 13-292 substituted “$40,00” for “$15,000”.

Editor's Notes

Application of Law 10-241: See Application of Law 10-241 and Emergency act amendment notes to § 20-304.

Section 1102 of D.C. Law 13-292 provided: “Sec. 1102. Applicability. For the purposes of Title 5 and Title 9 and sections 801(b), 805, and 806 of Title 8 of this act, the provisions relating to the administration of decedents’ estates shall apply only to the estates of decedents who die on or after the effective date of this act.”


§ 20–352. Petition.

Any person eligible for appointment as the personal representative of an estate pursuant to section 20-303 may file a verified petition for administration of a small estate. Such petition shall contain, in addition to the information required by section 20-304 :

(a) A statement that the petitioner has made a diligent search to discover all property and debts of the decedent;

(b) A list of the known creditors of the decedent, with the amount of each claim, including contingent and disputed claim; and

(c) A statement of any legal proceedings pending in which the decedent was a party.


(June 24, 1980, D.C. Law 3-72, § 101, 27 DCR 2155.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 20-352.


§ 20–353. Proceedings after petition.

(a) Determinations on petition. — If the Court finds that the petition and any additional information filed under this subchapter is accurate, it shall:

(1) appoint a personal representative of the small estate;

(2) direct the immediate payment of the allowable funeral expenses as provided in section 20-906 and the family allowance as provided in section 19-101 [repealed];

(3) direct the sale of property as may be necessary to satisfy funeral expenses and the family allowance; and

(4) if it appears that there will be any property remaining after payment of funeral expenses and there is no family allowance payable, admit the will, if any, to probate and direct that notice be given in accordance with subsection (b).

(b) Notice. — If the Court directs that notice be given, notice shall be given once in the form required by section 20-704; except, that the period within which claims must be filed or objection must be made to contest the validity of the will or the small estates proceeding or the appointment of the personal representative shall be 30 days from the date of publication of notice.


(June 24, 1980, D.C. Law 3-72, § 101, 27 DCR 2155.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 20-353.

Section References

This section is referenced in § 20-305, § 20-354, and § 20-355.


§ 20–354. Duties of personal representatives.

(a) Attorney; bond; compensation. — No person appointed as a personal representative in accordance with section 20-353 shall be required to be represented by an attorney or to give bond or be entitled to receive any commission for the performance of duties as personal representative.

(b) Distribution. — If notice is required and 30 days have expired since the publication of notice as provided in section 20-353(b), the personal representative shall file proof of publication of the notice and a verified list of all claims, including contingent and disputed claims, and the amount of the claims filed since the original petition. The Court shall hear any objections filed pursuant to the notice and, if satisfied that all action taken pursuant to this subchapter is proper, shall direct the personal representative to pay all proper claims and expenses and to distribute the net estate either in accordance with the will or, if the decedent died intestate, to the decedent’s heirs.


(June 24, 1980, D.C. Law 3-72, § 101, 27 DCR 2155.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 20-354.


§ 20–355. After-discovered property.

The personal representative shall report to the Court immediately, by verified supplemental petition, any property of the decedent discovered after the filing of the petition. If the after-discovered property increases the value of all property of the decedent to an amount greater than the allowable funeral expenses (and there is no family allowance payable) but less than $15,000, the Court shall admit the will, if any, to probate and direct that notice be given in accordance with section 20-353(b) . If the after-discovered property increases the value of all property of the decedent to more than $15,000, there shall be no further proceedings under this subchapter, and administration shall proceed under the other provisions of this title.


(June 24, 1980, D.C. Law 3-72, § 101, 27 DCR 2155; Mar. 21, 1995, D.C. Law 10-241, § 3(r), 42 DCR 63.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 20-355.

Editor's Notes

Application of Law 10-241: See Application of Law 10-241 and Emergency act amendment notes to § 20-304.


§ 20–356. Applicability of other provisions of title.

Except to the extent inconsistent with this subchapter, all the other provisions of this title shall apply to small estates.


(June 24, 1980, D.C. Law 3-72, § 101, 27 DCR 2155.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 20-356.


§ 20–357. Exception for motor vehicles. [Repealed]

[Repealed].


(June 24, 1980, D.C. Law 3-72, § 101, 27 DCR 2155; Jan. 25, 2018, D.C. Law 22-48, § 4(b)(2), 64 DCR 12405.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 20-357.

Section References

This section is referenced in § 20-105.