When a relative passes and property is involved, eventually that property will need to be transferred via probate or a small estate affidavit.
The assets that will be transferred are any assets in the deceased's name and their name only. It does not include, for example, bank accounts with beneficiaries designated, life insurance policies, retirement accounts where a beneficiary is named.
If the estate is worth less than $50,000, the estate can be dealt with without going to court. The appropriate party can execute a small estate affidavit pursuant to Indiana Code 29-1-8-1.
If the estate is worth over $50,000, an appropriate party will file a petition to probate. If there is a will, a personal representative will typically be named in the will and the assets can be transferred via a personal representative's deed. If there was no will, the distribution of assets are governed by Indiana's intestacy laws (I.C. 29-1-2-1).
Another important question is whether or not the estate will be supervised or unsupervised. If there is disagreement on how assets are to be distributed, the estate will need to be opened as a supervised estate. In a supervised estate, Court approval is required when the personal representative makes decisions. In an unsupervised estate, the personal representative can act with broader discretion in the interest of the heirs.
Homan & Zentz, P.C. can assist you and your family in this difficult time. Call us at (317) 941-6996 to schedule your consultation.