If you choose to direct the future transfer of your assets to your heirs through the terms of your last will the process of probate is probably going to be a factor. We say “probably” because small estates may be able to avoid the full probate process.
In the state of Indiana it is possible to avoid probate altogether by utilizing a simple affidavit if the overall unencumbered value of the property is less than $50,000. If there is real property involved this process cannot be utilized.
In addition to the simple affidavit a simplified probate process for relatively modest estates also exists here in Indiana. This too is only available for estates that do not exceed $50,000 in value.
The full probate process can be somewhat time-consuming, expensive, and complicated. If you express your final wishes regarding the distribution of your resources in a will you select a personal representative or executor to conduct the business of the estate.
The executor will oftentimes engage the services of a probate attorney, and this assistance can ensure the smoothest possible movement through probate.
For those who have more than $50,000 in assets who would like to avoid probate there are options. One of these would be the creation of a revocable living trust.
With these trusts you maintain control the funds throughout your life. At the time of your death the trustee that you name in your trust agreement administers the funds, making distributions to the beneficiaries in accordance with your wishes.
These asset transfers are not subject to the probate process.
Mr. Kraft assists clients primarily in the areas of estate planning and administration, Medicaid planning, federal and state taxation, real estate and corporate law, bringing the added perspective of an accounting background to his work.