Everything You Need to Know about Probate and Estate Planning in Indiana in 2023

Losing a loved one is hard enough without the weight of tedious legal processes. Unfortunately, if your loved one did not undergo careful estate planning, then their assets may have to go through a process known as probate.

Probate is the process by which estate assets are managed and distributed in the absence of a trust or legal designation of beneficiaries. The Indiana probate process is overseen by your loved one’s local court and helps establish the estate’s worth, settle any debts, and then distribute the remaining assets among the family.

At Webster & Garino LLC, our attorneys have ample experience in probate law in Westfield, Indiana, and the surrounding areas. We provide compassionate legal representation to help you and your loved ones navigate the difficult probate process with ease.

Contact Webster & Garino LLC to learn more about probate and what to do if your loved one’s estate ends up in probate court.

What Is the Goal of Probate?

Indiana courts have long-standing procedures established for a probate case. The legal process includes settling the estate’s debts and taxes, and also includes overseeing distribution to any beneficiaries.

How your loved one’s assets are distributed can be dependent upon the extent of their estate planning. If they had a trust or legally designated beneficiaries, you may be able to avoid probate court for the rest of the process. Otherwise, the estate will be divided per State standards.

These standards will be carried out by an executor, also known as a personal representative who is appointed by the court at the start of probate.

A probate lawyer with Webster & Garino LLC has years of experience navigating this process and can help guide you through it. We’re familiar with all possible probate outcomes facing an Indiana resident and their personal property and we can also help you plan ahead with our additional estate planning services to ensure the desired distribution of your or your loved one’s financial legacy.

Call Webster & Garino LLC today for more information on our probate solutions.

What is the Probate Process?

In Indiana, the probate process takes about ten months on average to be finalized. This process starts by filing a petition in court.When a trust is in place, then your time in probate court may be less involved or not required at all.

The court will appoint a personal representative to help facilitate the probate process. In addition, Indiana has established state laws that guide the court’s decisions regarding creditor claims on the estate.

If you are married with no children, then your surviving spouse may receive the entire estate. If you are married with children, the court will divide the estate between your spouse and children, but the percentages vary depdning on whether the spouse is a first or subsequent spouse and if there were children from that marriage

Your probate process may include the following actions:

  • Personal representative posts a bond if required.
  • Personal representative informs creditors and beneficiaries.
  • Personal representative calculates the estate’s current value.
  • Personal representative pays taxes, debts, court fees, and all other estate expenses.
  • Personal representative distributes assets.

Probate may seem less complex than some other law procedures. But there are a host of subtle details and nuanced circumstances that can be detrimental to your loved one’s estate distribution if not properly handled. That’s why it’s important to take advantage of the legal expertise of an Indiana probate attorney from Webster & Garino LLC.

What Assets Fall Under Probate In Indiana?

Property held in  your loved one’s individual name is considered a part of the estate. Property held in trust or with named beneficiaries may pass to loves ones directly, outside of the probate process.

Working with a probate lawyer can ensure all probate matters are handled with ease and efficiency so that you and your family can grieve your loved one without worrying about stressful and complex legal proceedings.

Assets That Require Probate

Without a trust to declare otherwise, the following assets may be considered during probate:

  • An inheritance bequeathed to a beneficiary who has already died
  • Real estate owned individually by the deceased
  • Individual bank accounts without a beneficiary designation
  • Real Estate owned as Tenants in Common
  • Life Insurance Proceeds without a beneficiary designation
  • Unpaid Wages
  • Tax Refunds

Certain assets fall under a miscellaneous category. These include jewelry, furniture, and other personal household items that do not have a title. All of these items could also be considered in probate court dpending on the overall net value of the estate.

Assets that Do Not Require Probate

There are some assets held that may be excluded from the probate process. These items have pre-established documentation that denotes how they will be distributed upon the your loved one’s death.

The following items may not require probate:

  • Homes and bank accounts held in joint tenancy
  • Real estate held in tenancy by the entirety, or where a Transfer on Death Deed has been recorded
  • Bank accounts with payable-on-death beneficiaries
  • Securities and vehicles registered with transfer-on-death forms
  • Retirement accounts with designated beneficiaries

Whether you’re worried about the future of your or a loved one’s assets, you can benefit from quality legal advice from our probate lawyers at Webster & Garino LLC. We can assess your estate income and worth, and categorize each asset so you know what to expect in court.

Why Should You Work with Our Professional Probate Lawyers?

Working with a skilled attorney at Webster & Garino LLC will help you expedite the probate process. A legal consultation with one of our seasoned attorneys will also help you and your family prepare for any unexpected costs or delays along the way, such as court fees.

You and your loved ones need time to grieve. Don’t let a lengthy court process make a hard time even more tumultuous. Call Webster & Garino LLC for legal services you and your family can trust in central Indiana.

Why Executing a Trust can be Important

Probate court takes the control of the estate out of your and your loved one’s hands. Preparing a legal trust may save your family from a prolonged probate process that may result in unsatisfactory distribution of your or your loved one’s assets.

Our attorneys at Webster & Garino LLC provide top-notch estate planning solutions so you can move forward with the rest of your life confident that your estate and your family will be properly taken care of when you pass.

A will or trust can also be highly beneficial if the person you wish to name as a beneficiary is not a blood relative. Many modern families no longer fall under the nuclear structures the court has based its standard operating procedures on. This means that some members of your family could be left empty-handed or financially unstable after your passing if a will has not been properly executed.

You didn’t accumulate your financial legacy by following the crowd. So don’t let your estate fall under one-size-fits-all proceedings. Prepare a legal will or trust with help from Webster & Garino LLC today.

Contact Webster & Garino LLC for Superior Probate Services

Since 2017, Webster & Garino LLC has practiced probate law and has provided estate planning services in Westfield, Indiana, and the surrounding areas. Our full-service law firm is committed to ensuring the financial security and success of you and your loved ones through the emotionally-taxing probate processes. Since we specialize in a variety of related practice areas, including estate planning and family law, our team of local litigators understands the importance of securing your financial legacy for your family. That’s why we focus on preparing wills and trusts that help shorten and even avoid the probate process. Contact Webster & Garino LLC to schedule a compassionate probate consultation today.