When a family member or other loved one passes away, most of us would prefer to just grieve in peace rather than be confronted with the complexities involved in dealing with estate matters. The problem is that every decedent’s estate must eventually be settled, so avoidance isn’t always an option. When your loved one’s estate doesn’t include trusts or other automatic ownership transfer provisions, then you may find that there is no other option than to deal with the probate court. The following resources are designed to help familiarize you with the probate process in Indiana to help remove some of the mystery that might otherwise surround those proceedings.
You often hear people talk about how they’re creating a will to help their estates avoid the probate process so that heirs can receive their inheritances in a streamlined manner. Sadly, that belief is not based on reality. The fact is that your will cannot save your estate from probate, since probate is specifically designed to help facilitate the transfer of ownership of all properties that don’t have any other automatic means for passing to another person when you die. That means that assets like a bank account with transfer-on-death provisions would avoid probate, but that same account would need to be probated if it were in the deceased’s name without such a provision.
When probate is necessary, there are several ways that you might encounter the probate court. The first involves you being named as the will’s executor. If that happens, then you will be tasked with a wide variety of duties ranging from identifying and appraising assets to locating creditors, paying debts, and helping the court finalize distributions of assets. As executor, you would be answerable to the court, and must provide detailed accounting of your activities so that the probate judge can verify that everything has been done in accordance with the law.
Of course, you don’t have to be a named executor to encounter the probate court. This can happen when you’re challenging the validity of a will, since the court must determine whether any will is legitimate before it can allow probate to proceed. One thing is true in either case, however; you should have at least some idea how probate works in Indiana. And while the best way to gain that knowledge is by contacting a competent probate lawyer to assist you with your probate matters, there are also a host of resources out there that can help you to become more familiar with these procedures.
Get Information About Indiana Probate
Because probate can be a complicated matter, it is always smart to rely on expert resources if you want to better understand everything that is involved. For the state of Indiana, you can find a great deal of information about Indian probate in all the state’s counties at the freeadvice.com website. If you live in or around Indianapolis, you can even download the necessary probate court forms from the government website.
Indiana Probate Laws
If you find that you need to review the Indiana probate laws, you can find them in the Indiana Code Title 29: Probate. That page provides you with the actual statutory language used in Indiana law to cover topics like probate and guardianship concerns.
Learn about Indiana Estate Tax Issues
The state of Indiana no longer has an estate tax or inheritance tax at the state level, having retroactively repealed its own inheritance tax in recent years. If you’d like to learn more about the issue, you can read about it on the Indiana Department of Revenue website.
How Do States Across the US Manage Estate Provisions?
In recent decades, there has been a tremendous effort to create greater uniformity of probate and estate tax provisions across the many states in the United States. Despite that effort, there are still many differences remaining. Because of those differences, the laws that apply to certain assets in different states may be very different than the laws used in Indiana. That means that you may need to know how other states apply estate tax law to ensure that you understand the proceedings. Fortunately, you can find a comprehensive list of those state laws at findlaw.com.
Indiana Probate Court Resources
As noted above, you may eventually have to contact whatever probate court is handling the estate. If you’re an executor, you’ll have reports to submit and petitions to file. If you’re contesting the will, that too needs to be done in the probate court. Before you can do that, though, you must find the right court to contact. Once again, the links to Indiana’s county courts can prove invaluable when it comes to putting you in touch with the court that handles your loved one’s probate proceedings.
Estate Planning for You
Of course, you may also just find yourself interested in estate planning for your own estate needs. The fact is that all of us should have some sort of estate plan in place to ensure that our property and loved ones are taken care of when we die. The last thing you want is for your estate to be handled using Indiana intestacy laws, since that leaves you no say in determining how your assets are distributed after death. Fortunately, there are many educational resources that can help you to learn more about the laws governing estate planning in the state of Indiana:
- Indiana Probate and Estate Tax Laws
- Indiana Living Will Laws
- Indiana Will Laws
- Indiana Durable Power of Attorney Laws
The bottom line is that there are many resources that you can consult to learn more about probate matters in the state of Indiana. By reviewing these resources, you can gain better familiarity with the probate process and even get more information about the types of things that you can do to further your own estate planning efforts. At the same time, however, it is important to recognize that online resources only provide part of the story. To truly understand it all and get the assistance you need to guide you through the complexities of the Indiana probate process, you need the help of an experienced Indiana probate and estate planning attorney. To get the assistance you need to make your probate experience more manageable, contact the experts at Frank & Kraft, Attorneys at Law today by visiting us online or calling (317) 684-1100.