What is the best way to handle an insolvent estate?

UPDATED: Aug 18, 2011

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What is the best way to handle an insolvent estate?

My youngest brother died and my older brother is the executor. The estate is insolvent – no savings and around $24k in debt. There are a few personal belongings but they are not of much $ value. My older brother is working with an attorney, but the fees are adding up and we will have to pay them. Isn’t there some other way to handle all of this?

Asked on August 18, 2011 Indiana


M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

Not all Wills have to be probated or estates have to be administered with court involvement.   Under IN law, where as estate is valued at no more than $50,000, an interested party may, 45 days after the death of the decedent, issue a small estate affidavit to collect any debts owed to the decedent. No attorney need be involved. This statute was enacted to cover a situation such as yours.

Here is a link to the applicable form required for the adminstation of a small estate:


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