Wills and Estates – Small Estates – Indiana
Small Estates General Summary: Small Estate laws were enacted in order to enable heirs to obtain property of the deceased without probate, or with shortened probate proceedings, provided certain conditions are met. Small estates can be administered with less time and cost. If the deceased had conveyed most property to a trust but there remains some property, small estate laws may also be available. Small Estate procedures may generally be used regardless of whether there was a Will. In general, the two forms of small estate procedures are recognized:
1. Small Estate Affidavit -Some States allow an affidavit to be executed by the spouse and/or heirs of the deceased and present the affidavit to the holder of property such as a bank to obtain property of the deceased. Other states require that the affidavit be filed with the Court. The main requirement before you may use an affidavit is that the value of the personal and/or real property of the estate not exceed a certain value.
2. Summary Administration -Some states allow a Summary administration. Some States recognize both the Small Estate affidavit and Summary Administration, basing the requirement of which one to use on the value of the estate. Example: If the estate value is 10,000 or less an affidavit is allowed but if the value is between 10,000 to 20,000 a summary administration is allowed.
Under Indiana statute, where as estate is valued at no more than $50,000, an interested party may, forty-five (45) days after the death of the decedent, issue a small estate affidavit to collect any debts owed to the decedent.
Indiana requirements are set forth in the statutes below.
(a) If it appears that the value of a decedent’s gross probate….
(a) If it appears that the value of a decedent’s gross probate estate, less liens and encumbrances, does not exceed the sum of:
(1) fifty thousand dollars ($50,000);
(2) the costs and expenses of administration; and
(3) reasonable funeral expenses; the personal representative or a person acting on behalf of the distributees, without giving notice to creditors, may immediately disburse and distribute the estate to the persons entitled to it and file a closing statement as provided in section 4 of this chapter.
(b) If an estate described in subsection (a) includes real property, an affidavit may be recorded in the office of the recorder in the county in which the real property is located. The affidavit must contain the following:
(1) The legal description of the real property.
(2) The following statement: “It appears that the decedent’s gross probate estate, less liens and encumbrances, does not exceed the sum of the following: fifty thousand dollars ($50,000), the costs and expenses of administration, and reasonable funeral expenses.”.
(3) The name of each person entitled to at least a part interest in the real property as a result of a decedent’s death, the share to which each person is entitled, and whether the share is a divided or undivided interest.
(4) A statement which explains how each person’s share has been determined.
(a) Unless prohibited by order of the court and except for….
(a) Unless prohibited by order of the court and except for estates being administered by supervised personal representatives, a personal representative or a person acting on behalf of the distributees may close an estate administered under the summary procedures of section 3 of this chapter by filing with the court, at any time after disbursement and distribution of the estate, a verified statement stating that:
(1) to the best knowledge of the personal representative or person acting on behalf of the distributees the value of the gross probate estate, less liens and encumbrances, did not exceed the sum of:
(A) fifty thousand dollars ($50,000);
(B) the costs and expenses of administration; and
(C) reasonable funeral expenses;
(2) the personal representative or person acting on behalf of the distributees has fully administered the estate by disbursing and distributing it to the persons entitled to it; and
(3) the personal representative or person acting on behalf of the distributees has sent a copy of the closing statement to all distributees of the estate and to all creditors or other claimants of whom the personal representative or person acting on behalf of the distributees is aware and has furnished a full account in writing of the administration to the distributees whose interests are affected.
(b) If no actions, claims, objections, or proceedings involving the personal representative or person acting on behalf of the distributees are filed in the court within three (3) months after the closing statement is filed, the appointment of the personal representative or the duties of the person acting on behalf of the distributees terminate.
(c) A closing statement filed under this section has the same effect as one (1) filed under IC 29-1-7.5-4.
(d) A copy of any affidavit recorded under section 3(b) of this chapter must be attached to the closing statement filed under this section.
The person claiming to be entitled to payment or….
The person claiming to be entitled to payment or delivery of the property belonging to the decedent may present to the court having jurisdiction over the decedent’s estate an affidavit containing a statement of the conditions required under section (1)(b) of this chapter. Upon receipt of the affidavit, the court may, without notice and hearing, enter an order that the claimant is entitled to payment or delivery of the property.
Whenever, after the inventory has been filed by a personal….
Whenever, after the inventory has been filed by a personal representative, it is established that the estate of a decedent, exclusive allowance to the surviving spouse or dependent children, does not exceed an amount sufficient to pay the claims of classes 1 to 6 inclusive, the personal representative upon order of the court shall pay the same in the order provided and thereafter present his account with an application for the settlement and allowance thereof. Thereupon, the court, with or without notice, may adjust, correct, settle, allow or disallow such account, and, if the account is settled and allowed, decree final distribution, discharge the personal representative and close the administration.