Who Can Serve As Personal Representative Of an Estate In Indiana?

To serve as the personal representative of an Indiana estate, the personal representative must be:

  1. At least 18 years old,
  2. Of sound mind
  3. Not a convicted felon

 

See IN Code § 29-1-10-1.  In addition, a resident corporation not authorized to act as a fiduciary in Indiana or a person who the court finds unsuitable is also not qualified to serve as personal representative under Indiana law.

The term “personal representative” includes an executor, administrator, administrator with will annexed, administrator de bonis non, and special administrator.  See IN Code § 29-1-1-3(25).

Who Has Priority To Serve As Personal Representative Of an Indiana Estate?

Indiana law sets forth an order of persons entitled to serve as personal representative.  Domiciliary letters testamentary or domiciliary letters of general administration may be granted in the following order:

  1. To the executor or executors designated in a will that has been admitted to probate.
  2. To a surviving spouse who is a devisee in a will that has been admitted to probate.
  3. To a devisee in a will that has been admitted to probate.
  4. To the surviving spouse, or to the person or persons nominated by the surviving spouse or to the surviving spouse and the person or persons nominated by the surviving spouse.
  5. To:
    • an heir;
    • the person or persons nominated by an heir; or
    • an heir and the person or persons nominated by an heir.
  6. If there is not a person listed in subdivisions (1) through (5), then to any other qualified person.

 

See IN Code § 29-1-10-1

Do You Have To Serve As Personal Representative Just Because You Have Priority?

No.  Just because you are entitled to serve as the personal representative of an Indiana estate does not mean that you have to serve.  Instead, you can renounce your entitlement to serve as personal representative.  Pursuant to IN Code § 29-1-10-2:

Any person entitled to letters testamentary or to general letters of administration may renounce his right thereto in writing, which renunciation shall be filed with the clerk.

Can a Nonresident Serve As Personal Representative In Indiana?

Yes.  A nonresident can serve as the personal representative of an Indiana estate if an in-state coexecutor is also appointed and if the nonresident posts bond.  A nonresident executor can serve alone if he or she posts a bond and files a written notice accepting the appointment as executor and naming an agent in Indiana to accept legal papers.  See IN Code § 29-1-10-1.

More Indiana Probate Information