Legal Blog

Indiana Probate FAQ

05 June 2019 | Legal Blog,  

Attorney Sean Hessler

Written by
Sean Hessler

05 June 2019

Legal Blog,  

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The legal process for distributing your property after you pass away is known as probate. Since probate laws are complex and it’s typical to be confused about the process and how it works, we’ve created this informative list of Indiana probate FAQ.

If you have further questions related to probate in Indiana or are seeking skilled legal representation for your probate needs, consult an Indianapolis probate lawyer at Hessler Law, PC. We can inform you of your legal options and guide you through the legal process. Call us at (317) 886-8800 today, or reach out through the online form to schedule a free consultation of your case.

Indiana Probate Information

If you’re about to partake in probate matters in Indiana, you might have the following questions:

How long does probate take?

The length of the probate process in Indiana takes anywhere from a few months to over a year, depending on the complexity of your estate. Believe it or not, in some cases, probate isn’t even necessary.

When is probate not necessary?

Under Indiana law, some assets don’t need to go through probate. Such property includes items in a living trust, items owned by two or more people, life insurance and retirement accounts with beneficiary designations, transfer-on-death bank or brokerage accounts, and community property with survivorship rights.

Is there a small estate alternative to probate?

Small estates with gross values below $50,000 are eligible for a simplified probate process, which is faster and less expensive than the traditional process. All heirs need to do is prepare a short document that states why they are entitled to specific assets in a decedent’s estate. After signing this document, called an affidavit, they will submit it – along with a death certificate – to the party holding the property. Once both documents are received, an heir will receive the asset.

How does a will get validated?

The county probate court will want proof that a will is valid and real. If the will is self-proving, additional confirmation is unnecessary – unless there is an objection from a beneficiary or heir. A self-proving will typically has an attached statement from two witnesses that claims they saw the decedent sign the will or saw them affirm the document was their will.

If an heir or beneficiary states the will is not valid or there is another will, the process may require testimony from a witness and medical expert. This can significantly increase the length of the probate process.

What happens if there is no will?

If the decedent did not leave a will, the probate court will take care of the entire probate process. The court will appoint an executor and adhere to Indiana’s guidelines for determining the beneficiaries and how much each one receives. Regardless of how simple the estate is, the process will take longer without a will.

What is the difference between supervised probate and unsupervised probate?

Supervised probate requires direct administration with the court, and is used when assets are difficult to evaluate, the will is vague, and heirs are unknown. Unsupervised probate is used if all the parties agree, the will authorizes the estate directly, or the estate has more assets than debts.

How does the probate process begin?

To begin the probate process, the individual who has the decedent’s will must file a petition for probate in the decedent’s local county probate court system. The individual who has the will is typically named the executor or administrator. If there is uncertainty as to which county to file a petition because the decedent moved frequently, the process can begin in the county in which the decedent owned real estate.

Contact Hessler Law, PC

Hessler Law, PC understands just how complex the probate process can be. We are well-versed in Indiana probate laws and here to help you with all your probate needs. Contact us today at (317) 886-8800, or reach out through the online form to schedule a free, initial consultation of your case.