Fortunately, no, small estates in Indiana do not have to go through probate, which is good, because that saves a lot of time and money. There are some restrictions on what makes an estate small, however.
In Indiana, a small estate is one where the gross estate, less liens and encumbrances, does not exceed $50,000, the costs and expenses of administration, and reasonable funeral expenses. In such cases, the personal representative for the estate may immediately disburse and distribute the estate to the persons entitled to it and file a closing statement.
If the estate includes a house, or real property, an affidavit can be filed in the recorder’s office in the county in which the property is located. The affidavit should contain:
- property’s legal description
- This 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.”
- The names of persons entitled to a part interest in the real property as a result of the death,
- the share to which they are entitled, and whether that interest is divided or undivided
- An explanation of how the shares were determined.
Unless prohibited by the court or the estate is being administered by a supervised personal representative, Indiana statutes also state that the personal representative may close the estate by filing with the court after disbursement and distribution of the estate, a verified statement saying:
- That to the best of their knowledge the value of the gross estate, less liens and encumbrances did not exceed the sum of $50,000, the costs and expenses of administration, and reasonable funeral expenses;
- The personal representative has fully administered the estate by disbursing and distributing it to the persons entitled to it;
- The personal representative has sent a copy of the closing statement to all distributees and creditors;
- If no claims or objections involving the personal representative are filed in court within three months after the closing statement is filed, the duties of the personal representative are terminated.
Knowing how to handle an estate can be difficult. Contact your estate planning attorney who can help guide you through the process.