The Indiana probate process is a formal process that takes place in court before a deceased person’s assets can transfer to the property’s new owners. An executor of an estate generally has the most responsibility during the probate process, including to file paperwork with the court and manage the assets of the estate until new owners can take ownership. Creditors have the chance to make claims during the probate process, and there is also an opportunity to contest a will if there are doubts about its legal validity.
There are many steps involved in managing the probate process, including gathering the necessary documents, filing a request with the probate court for an executor to be recognized, gathering estate assets, providing notice to beneficiaries and creditors, paying debts that the estate owes, and calculating and paying any taxes that are due. The probate process will also involve the distribution of inheritances to heirs or beneficiaries who were named in the will or who inherit under intestacy law. An experienced attorney can provide assistance with fulfilling all of the essential steps of this process.
A person who is chosen as the executor of a will should have certain qualities that will help him to fulfill his many obligations. The executor must keep a careful accounting of estate assets and must comply with all tax obligations. The executor must also manage the assets that are owned by the estate and must take the necessary steps to move the probate process forward in court and transfer assets to new owners. These processes can be complicated and while an attorney can provide help, an executor still must be trustworthy and competent in fulfilling his obligations.
There are both financial and non-financial costs associated with the probate process. The probate process can take a long time to complete, which means that the heirs or beneficiaries who stand to inherit property will need to wait for their inheritance to be officially transferred to them. In some cases, such as when assets require specialized knowledge to manage or where uncertainty over ownership can be damaging, it is possible that an inheritance will lose value due to the delay in transferring ownership. This could happen, for example, if ownership shares in a business take a long time to transfer.
The probate process itself also costs money because of court fees, payments to the executor of an estate, legal fees and fees for any experts that are necessary- such as appraisers. The total costs of attorney’s and executor’s fees could be as much as 10 percent of the value of the estate, which can be a very substantial amount of money.
Virtually everyone who is involved in the probate process should get help from a probate attorney to ensure they fulfill their duties and to ensure their rights are protected. While an executor of an estate needs to have a lawyer to help ensure he fulfills his fiduciary duty, heirs or beneficiaries should have an attorney to help ensure that their inheritance is appropriately managed and transferred in as timely a manner as possible. Anyone who wishes to contest a will will also need to have an experienced attorney to help them make the strongest possible legal arguments.