You are going through a grieving period because your loved one passed away. It is most likely a very emotional and difficult time for you. Once you get through the initial grieving period, you will have to start thinking about what you need to do to manage your loved one’s estate.
Considering that your loved one passed away with assets in their name (with no co-owners), a probate estate can be filed with the local court in the county in which your loved one resided. In that case, all of the person’s assets will be distributed to the beneficiaries after the deceased’s debts have been paid.
How does the probate process work in Indiana?
According to the probate procedure, the following must happen:
- Last will and testament: If a Last Will and Testament exists, the person who has been designated in that document is usually the person who will open the probate estate by filing the will with the court. The will should document who is named as executor and who will receive specific assets from the estate. On the other hand, if there is no Last Will and Testament, any of the heirs can open the probate estate by filing the will with the local court. In Indiana, the probate code contains the names of the heirs. If the surviving parent passes away, all of the children of the deceased will have equal shares in the estate.
- Personal representative: This is the person who is responsible for administering the estate. If there is agreement among the beneficiaries of the estate, it can be administered and not supervised by the probate court after the process of opening the estate in court is complete. On the other hand, if there is no agreement among the beneficiaries, every action that the personal representative takes on behalf of the estate will need to be approved by the court.
- Documents to be filed in court: There are several documents that are commonly filed with the court, such as the Last Will and Testament, the petition to probate the estate (this usually contains information such as death date, information about the personal representative, the addresses of the heirs and assets of the estate and debts. Other documents that must be filed in court are the Oath of Office, which is signed by the personal representative. This also contains the affirmation that the personal representative is willing to serve the estate. The other document that will be filed is the personal representative’s instructions about their responsibilities to the estate.
Once the probate order is finalized, the personal representative will be given the authority to serve. This document is called the Letters Testamentary.
Solid legal support
If you are involved with the estate administration on behalf of your deceased loved one, it may be a lot to handle on your own. The legal support of a knowledgeable Indiana estate lawyer may make your job much easier than if you had to handle everything without help. Your attorney can walk you through the probate process and may be able to help you to handle what you need to do with a minimum of stress and worry. The probate process can be complicated and having an attorney by your side may make a tremendous difference to you.