Our Indianapolis, IN probate lawyer knows that the probate process is not likely something you put much thought into. For most, it is only really at the forefront when a person is either developing their estate plan or attempting to resolve another person’s estate. While probate in Indiana can be a reasonably straightforward process, at times, complications may arise, making probate something that many people dread. Whether you are in the process of developing your estate plan, or an executor of another person’s estate, it may be in your best interest to contact Dickmann Reason Bogigian & White. Our firm will work diligently to ensure that your heirs retain as much of your wealth as possible and that the probate process moves as smoothly as possible.
In Indiana, the purpose of probate is to make sure if a will is in place, that the assets are properly identified, and to make sure the assets are distributed according to the will. If there is no will, it gets more complicated because it becomes the state’s job to identify and distribute any estate assets.
If a will, or the property in question is held jointly, or in Transfer on Death (TOD) account, probate is simplified. In addition, assets held in trust where a successor trustee is named and retirement accounts and insurance policies with named beneficiaries are exempted from the probate process.
Sometimes, when a person is ill, they know that they may not have much more time to live. As such, sometimes they request aspects pertaining to estate, which will have a strong focus on getting their goods and services, good will, finances, or more, to friends, family, or someone else that is close to them. These are some of the backstory aspects that should be understood not just when it comes to estate, but also probate as well. Now; one thing this is important to note, is that when an individual who is getting ready to pass away wants to give their goods and services, or more, to someone that is close to them, the process is not as simple, as giving the funding and or goods to people or a person. Due to complications, assessment as to who gets the money, a lawyer must be carried out. Now; when a person has passed away, probate is the judiciary process that ensures the will is valid; estate taxes are settled, settles debts with creditors, and distributes assets to beneficiaries. Typically the process commences when the appointed estate executor files the proper paperwork with the courts. When there is a strong estate plan in place, not all assets will be required to pass through probate. However, when a person dies intestate (without a will), most assets will pass through probate, and the court will make decisions without the input of the person who has died.
The time it can take to move a will through probate can vary, but the probate process can take a few months to complete in cases where the will is not contested. However, keep in mind that when people disagree or attempt to contest a will, the process can become highly litigious and take significant time to resolve. To ensure the proper steps are taken and any issues that arise are quickly resolved, it’s critical to engage in the services provided by an Indianapolis, Indiana, probate lawyer.
Understanding What Happens To Assets During The Probate Process
Whether you are estate planning or an executor trying to understand the process, many people will want to know which assets will be able to avoid probate. When a person engages with a lawyer, a legal professional can help protect assets from probate. Here are common assets that may not need to pass through probate:
- Joint Tenancy:
- Bank Accounts
- Real Estate
- Assets held in a Trust
- POD/TOD Bank Accounts
- Retirement Accounts with Named Beneficiary
Probate doesn’t need to be a dreaded process, and there are strategies available to ensure that beneficiaries can maximize their inheritance. Speaking with a legal professional can prove incredibly helpful with the process of simplifying probate. Moreover, when speaking with a legal professional, one of the main focuses will be that the professional wants to be able to relate to the individual that is looking to have a probate simplified. While a legal professional is not tasked with needing to hearing one’s tragic story, there important thing to note is that hearing about what a loved one meant to someone, will aid one in giving a stronger understanding of how the probate that a loved one wants carried out, ties into what a loved one means to someone.
Our Firm Is Available To Help
After someone has passed, you may be left to resolve the estate of your loved one. This can be an incredibly complicated and even daunting process. Added stressors can include managing familial tensions in addition to the pressure of ensuring that you are carrying out the wishes of your loved ones in the way they would have liked. Our firm may be able to assist by:
- Making sure that documents are filed with probate court promptly
- Help organize and manage any debts owed to creditors
- Manage any conflict amongst beneficiaries
- Obtain appraisals for real estate
- Develop an inventory of estate assets
Probate can quickly become an overwhelming process but it doesn’t have to be. One of the reasons why probate can be overwhelming, is because of the emotional process of having to work on probate aspects, after a loved one has passed. However, if one needs to, grieving can come first, before they begin working on processes, related to probate, funding and goods or services from their loved ones, and more. These are some factors that can make the probate aspects complicated and emotional. With the services from our firm, Dickmann Reason Bogigian & White, you can move through the process with ease. Call our Indianapolis, IN, probate lawyer to schedule a consultation.
Considerations When Using A Life Estate As Part Of Your Estate Plan
Estate planning often involves the balancing of the needs of several family members and friends, and a desire to make sure that they are provided for after the planner’s death. For example, a man may wish to leave his property to his grandchildren but ensure that his sister has a place to live until her death. In order to execute this kind of arrangement, the man may wish to leave his sister a life estate in the property, with full ownership vesting in the grandchildren after the sister’s death. If you have special needs to be met in your estate plan, a probate lawyer in Indianapolis, IN can help.
What Is A Life Estate?
A life estate presents a way for an owner to pass an ownership interest in real property to another person for the duration of that person’s life. At the life estate holder’s death, the interest passes back to the original owner or to another designated person. The person who receives the real property after the life estate is terminated is known as a remainderman.
The life estate holder does not have all the rights that a person would have if he owned the property outright. For example, the life estate holder cannot sell the property without the permission of the remainderman. However, if the legal document that grants the life estate has no limitations on transfer, the life estate holder can sell the life estate interest or lease it for the duration of his lifetime.
The life estate holder is required to make ordinary repairs to the property, avoid neglecting, wasting, or negatively altering the property, and generally take steps to avoid damaging the value of the property. The life estate holder may also be required to pay taxes on the property and other costs associated with upkeep of the property.
Because of these added expenses, the grantor of the life estate should consider whether granting the life estate will present more of a burden to the beneficiary than a gift. If the life estate holder is also receiving monthly upkeep from a trust, this may not be a major concern. An Indianapolis, IN probate lawyer can assist you in setting up that trust, as well.
A landowner can also grant himself a life estate on his property with the remaining estate passing to a family member or friend upon the owner’s death. However, these kinds of transfers can affect the owner’s eligibility for government benefits such as Medicaid and have negative tax consequences for the owner if there is a sale of the property.
Do I Need To Hire A Probate Lawyer?
You should hire a probate lawyer to make sure that you do not make any mistakes during the probate administration process. The executor or administrator may be outside of Indiana and therefore you need a lawyer nearby who can assist with the administration. If the decedent had a will but it is missing then you need to hire a probate lawyer to help you with the problems that this issue may create.
If the will is disputed or contested you need to retain a probate lawyer who can advise you on how to proceed. If an executor or administrator is appointed another party may contest or dispute the appointment. During these contentious events you need to hire legal counsel so you can protect the decedent’s assets.
If the administrator or executor is not sure how to perform their duties you need to retain a probate lawyer to help you advise the administrator or executor. It may be that a new executor or administrator should be named. Also, the decedent may have debts that are disputed and it is unclear who should pay the debts and how they should be paid.
Also, a probate document may have been filed in the incorrect court. You may also have not filed an important probate document within the filing deadline. If this is the case, you should retain a probate lawyer so you do not have to face any consequences that could have been avoided if you had retained a probate lawyer.
Call Our Office Today
If you are considering an estate plan that includes the grant of a life estate, you should speak to an experienced Indianapolis, IN probate lawyer for more information. There may be other ways to distribute your assets that are more advantageous than the use of the life estate, and still achieve your desired estate planning goal. Dickmann Reason, Bogigian & White for a consultation today.
Everything else gets handled via probate.
If, when someone makes out a will they may appoint an Estate Administrator, named in a will. If that hasn’t happened an Executor appointed by the court does because there is no will. Regardless, the following must be fulfilled by the administrator or executor.
- Cataloging all belongings and assets
- Compile all debts and obligations of decedent
- Obtain an appraisal of assets
- Pay all debts and obligations from the estate
- Notifying beneficiaries of a reading of the will
- Distributing assets in accordance with the decedent’s wishes
- Filing final tax returns and closing estate
The administrator or executor has a fiduciary or legal or ethical duty and must operate under specific time frames governed by Indiana law. In other words, either position has some serious responsibilities to perform.
This is where the need for a probate lawyer in Indianapolis, IN comes in and why you want to talk with Dickmann Reason Bogigian & White. They have the solid experience to make sure probate proceeds as it should. And they have local knowledge. That is they practice in the area almost daily which means they know the players, from medical people, through law enforcement and on to the court system, including judges. They understand how the system actually works, which can help speed up the process.
Things to think about
If any of these things are present, you’ll undoubtedly want to consider hiring a firm like Dickmann Reason Bogigian & White.
- Is quarreling between beneficiaries likely?
- If you’re required to actually go through probate court
- Are any of the assets particularly complicated or out of state?
- What are the taxes and other fees that need to be paid and when and is the money actually available?
- Large estates are often more complicated than smaller ones.
- Is the will likely to be contested?
Granted, you may not know what the answer is to these questions and if you don’t that alone might be reason to work with a probate lawyer in Indianapolis, IN. Even if you do know in advance it only makes sense to at least contact them.