How Does Probate Work in Indiana?

At Lacy Law Office, LLC, we can help you understand Indiana’s probate laws and procedures and ensure you understand your responsibility as a Personal Representative or administrator.

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January 3, 2024

Probate can be necessary when a family member dies, and they have assets that require distribution. If you are named the Personal Representative in the Will of a loved one’s estate, or if your loved one died without a Last Will and Testament, and you are unsure how this process works, keep reading to understand Indiana probate laws and procedures.

What is Probate?

Probate is a judicial process of administering a deceased person’s estate to ensure that all legitimate debts are paid and the assets are transferred to the intended beneficiaries or heirs. In Indiana, the probate procedure typically involves the following steps:

Filing the initial petition with the appropriate county courtNotifying interested parties such as beneficiaries, heirs, and creditorsAppointing a personal representativeLocating, gathering, and protecting the deceased person’s assets

Understanding Indiana Probate Laws

Indiana has dedicated probate laws and procedures that govern the distribution of a deceased person’s estate and assets. Some of the critical aspects of probate in the state are:

Probate Court: In Indiana, probate matters are handled by the probate court in the county where the deceased person lived. This court supervises the entire process, ensuring compliance with the law.Personal Representatives: The Personal Representative named in the deceased’s Will has the primary role of identifying all of the decedent's assets and debts, securing the decedent’s personal and real property, paying legitimate expenses of the estate, and distributing the decedent’s property pursuant to the terms of the decedent’s Last Will and Testament. No Will:   If the descendant has no Will, any person who has an interest in the decedent's estate may file to be appointed as the administrator of the decedent’s estate if they meet the statutory qualifications.Notice to creditors and beneficiaries: One of the many roles of a Personal Representative or administrator involves providing notice to creditors of the decedent’s estate. This allows creditors to file claims for any outstanding debts.Inventory: Another role of the Personal Representative or administrator is to prepare an inventory of the decedent’s assets, along with their market values. However, some of the assets, like jointly owned property with designated beneficiaries, may not be subject to probate. They might not even need to be included in the inventory.

What Assets Pass Through Probate

Assets that go through probate in Indiana are exclusively owned by the decedent or do not have a designated beneficiary. These assets are listed under the decedent’s name and are considered part of their estate. They are administered through probate and include but are not limited to the following:Real estate held solely in decedent’s nameAny bank accounts owned solely by the decedentAny life insurance or investment accounts without a designated beneficiaryPersonal property solely owned by the decedent, including boats, vehicles, household goods, etc.

What Assets DO NOT Pass Through Probate

Certain assets are non-probate assets, and as such they are not a part of the probate estate, with some exceptions*. Non-probate assets include assets with named beneficiaries and jointly titled property,  including but are not limited to the following:Life insurance*Investment accounts*POD bank accountsTOD tilted propertyRetirement accounts*Jointly titled vehicles, campers, boatsReal estate owned as joint tenants by the entireties, or joint tenants with right of survivorship*if there is no named beneficiary or if the named beneficiary died prior to the decedent and there is no surviving contingent beneficiary, then these assets may become payable to the decedent’s estate.

Contact our Indiana Probate Attorneys Today To Get Started

Being the Personal Representative or administrator of a loved one’s estate can be challenging. You might need legal assistance, especially if you are unfamiliar with the complexities of the probate process in Indiana.

At Lacy Law Office, LLC, we can help you understand Indiana’s probate laws and procedures and ensure you understand your responsibility as a Personal Representative or administrator. Please call us at (317) 894-1500 to schedule a consultation and discuss your estate planning and estate administration needs.