Probate is the court-supervised procedure through which the estate of a deceased person, known as the decedent, is dispersed. Indiana law allows an estate with less than $50,000 of assets to bypass the probate process. If this is the case, you can use a small estate affidavit to collect the decedent's personal property and real estate. For example, you may present the affidavit to a bank to get the funds from the decedent's bank accounts. However, you must wait until 45 days have elapsed since the decedent's death to file the affidavit. You must also be a lawful heir to file the affidavit. Further, you can't file an affidavit if anyone else has started the probate process.
Fill in the name of the Indiana county at the top of the small estate affidavit. It should be the county where the decedent resided when he died or a county where he owned real estate.
Enter your full name in at the top of the affidavit, after "I." Write your postal and residence addresses on the provided lines.
Compile a list of the decedent's living heirs and current addresses. Heirs, called "successors" on the affidavit in some counties, include the decedent's spouse and children. Check the Indiana probate laws if you're unsure whom you must list as heirs or how much of the estate each heir is entitled to receive. Visit the official website of the Indiana General Assembly to view state laws online.
List each heir's name, address, relationship to the decedent, as well as his estate share percentage in the provided spaces on the affidavit. Use your heir list as a reference.
Write in the decedent's full name and date of death on the provided lines of the affidavit.
Take the affidavit form to a licensed notary public. You must sign and date the small estate affidavit in front of a notary public.
You can get a small estate affidavit form from some Indiana probate courts or from an online legal document provider.
You may file the affidavit at the Indiana probate court. You'll need the original death certificate and a copy of the certificate to do so.
You should seek the advice of an attorney before preparing a small estate affidavit.
You must notify all heirs in writing of your intention to use a small estate affidavit.
The person filing the affidavit assumes responsibility for distributing the money to the persons entitled to the property and may be the person that creditors look to satisfy debts.