Devolution is the transfer of a person’s assets (i.e., real estate, bank accounts, retirement accounts, or any other property a person owns) to his/her/their heirs as a matter of law upon a person’s death. Indiana’s devolution is found under I.C. § 29-1-7-23(a):

  • “When a person dies, the person’s real and personal property passes to persons to whom it is devised by the person’s last will or, in the absence of such disposition, to the persons who succeed to the person’s estate as the person’s heirs; but it shall be subject to the possession of the personal representative and to the election of the surviving spouse and shall be chargeable with the expenses of administering the estate, the payment of other claims and the allowance under IC 29-1-4-1, except as otherwise provided in IC 29-1.”

Not every state has devolution.  As a result of Indiana’s devolution statute, loved ones might not need to probate a person’s estate when a person dies, in certain circumstances, which can save time and expense. This is achieved with the use of a devolution affidavit

A skilled estate attorney must consider whether other provisions of the Indiana Probate Code may apply which could prevent the use of a devolution affidavit. For example, Indiana Code § 29-1-8 allows a person to use a small estate affidavit for transferring personal property so long as the gross probate estate is less than $50,000.

If there are no other conflicting statutes or requirements, the estate attorney may be able to use a devolution-type of affidavit to show the legal transfer of ownership from the person who died to that person’s heirs as a matter of law without the need to use the probate system. It is important to call an estate attorney to discuss your options at the time of death of your loved one.

This article is for information purposes only and is not intended to constitute legal advice.