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IN THE SECTION

Do all estates have to go through probate?

| May 11, 2021 | blog, estate administration & probate |

For those charged with such responsibility, part of losing a family member may include settling their loved one’s final affairs, which includes the probate process. However, smaller estates may not require formal proceedings.

Understanding probate for small estates may help ease the process for those responsible for dealing with the estates of recently deceased loved ones.

Simplifying probate procedures for small estates

According to Indiana state law, small estates may avoid formal probate with a simplified process. Estates valued at no more than $50,000, plus reasonable funerary costs and any expenses associated with the administration of the estate, may go through this simplified process. For such estates, the personal representatives may immediately go about distributing the estate to the appropriate heirs and beneficiaries. Representatives do not have an obligation to inform the estates’ creditors prior to distributing the assets, however, they should include creditors and inheritors when sending out the required closing statement they must file with the court.

Claiming real property for small estates

Inheritors may also skip the probate process to gain title or ownership of certain estate assets. In such cases, people may file out-of-court affidavits stating their entitlement to a specified asset and signed under oath. After a 45-day waiting period, the owner or holder of the asset may then release it to the inheritor. In addition to submitting the affidavit with the court,

Grieving the loss of a loved one may prove challenging enough without adding legal responsibilities. Working with an attorney may help alleviate some of the stresses that come with settling a family member’s final affairs.