Merrillville, Crown Point, Schererville, Munster, Dyer, Saint John

One question that often comes up when a loved one has died is, “Do I have to go through the probate process?” The answer is, “It depends.” Family members of individuals with small estates can avoid the probate process in Indiana using something that is known as the small estate affidavit.

At Dugan & Rybicki, P.C., in St. John, our Northwest Indiana estate planning lawyers advise individuals and families about estate planning and administration of small estates in Lake County, Porter County and throughout northern Indiana. We offer a free initial consultation to answer your questions.

What Is a Small Estate Affidavit?

In certain circumstances, beneficiaries can obtain property of a deceased person without the need to go through the probate process. This can be done with a legal document known as a small estate affidavit. In Indiana, a small estate affidavit can be used if the estate is valued at no more than $50,000.

Can I Avoid Probate if the Estate is More Than $50,000?

With careful estate planning before death, anyone can avoid probate, regardless of how much property they own. Here are some ways you can help your family avoid the probate process:

  • Create an estate plan with a trust rather than a will
  • Remove real estate from the estate through a transfer on death deed.
  • Use pay on death designations for bank accounts

Our firm’s probate attorney, Laura L. Rybicki, is a contributing author and speaker for the National Business Institute’s seminar entitled “The Probate Process from Start to Finish,” which addresses the estate administration process. She is also a member of the Probate, Trust & Real Property section of the Indiana State Bar Association.

For More Information About Small Estates

For more information or to schedule a free consultation with our Porter County and Lake County small estate attorneys, call (219) 365-7766 or fill out the contact form on this website.