Probate

The definition of Probate is:

  1. The process of legally establishing the validity of a will before a judicial authority.
  2. Judicial certification of the validity of a will.
  3. An authenticated copy of a will so certified.

When someone dies, leaving their property both real property and personal property to their heirs, the Will says who it will go to, and it also says who the deceased person wants to be the administrator of their Last Will and Testament. The process of going to Court to probate the Will can be either a Supervised Estate or an Unsupervised Estate. In the State of Indiana, Indiana Code governs the rules and regulations for administering an estate. Your Will also tells your administrator (sometimes called an administrator but in Indiana called a Personal Representative) how to pay your bills and wrap up your business affairs before the distribution of your assets to your heirs.

Probate is the legal process of settling the estate of a deceased person, specifically resolving all claims and distributing the decedent's property. The laws of every state can be different. The laws of the State of Indiana indicate what happens if a person dies "intestate" (without a will), and if a person dies "testate", i.e., having left a will.

Probate/Estate Administration

Probate/Estate administration is the process of winding up a deceased person's financial affairs, including the gathering of assets, payment of debts, expenses and taxes, and distributing what is left to the persons who are entitled to the balance of the assets.

The person responsible for estate administration is called the "Personal Representative." If the deceased person had a Will, the Personal Representative is normally named in the Will. If the deceased person did not have a Will, then a family member, creditor or other interested party may petition the court to serve as the Personal Representative. If the deceased person left his/her property in a Trust, then the Trustee named in the Trust will normally administer the deceased person's estate. The law imposes great responsibilities and duties on whoever administers an estate. The law requies that a Personal Representative notify the deceased person's creditors of the estate administration by specific means so that creditors may file claims against the deceased person's estate. The Personal Representative then must decide if the claims are proper and defend against any that are improper. Often, every detail of estate administration is supervised by a court, while other estates may be unsupervised. Regardless of supervised or unsupervised administration, inventories and final reports must be filed with the court to account for the deceased person's property and to show that the estate has been administered and that the deceased person's remaining property has been properly transferred to the deceased person's beneficiaries. Liability to the Personal Representative may arise if the responsibilities and duties of estate administration are not properly carried out. The responsibilities and duties imposed by law on estate administration are sometimes complex and often confusing. Moreover, all of this comes at a time when surviving family members may not only still be deeply grieving, but in need of the financial support formerly provided by the decedent. We have vast experience in estate administration. We can greatly relieve the burden of estate administration ranging from the details of opening an estate, notifying creditors, defending against improper claims, preparing and filing estate tax and inheritance tax returns or giving advice on other matters that result from the death of a loved one.

Our office has forty years of experience in dealing with the probate laws of the State of Indiana. If you have probate questions and would like to set up an appointment to come and speak to us, please contact us and give us your name, telephone number and let us know when would be a good time to call you, or you may call us at 260-739-1758