UNDERSTANDING THE PROBATE PROCESS IN INDIANA
Probate is the process of getting the property of an estate to the proper heirs and beneficiaries. If the decedent left a will, the first step of the probate is determining its validity. After the will is admitted into probate by the judge, a personal representative (executor) is selected to administer the estate. A personal representative can be named in the will or appointed by the court and can be a person, a bank or a trust company. The personal representative will then collect the probate assets, pay debts and taxes and distribute the remaining property to beneficiaries. If your late loved one was a resident of Lake County or Porter County, a Crown Point probate attorney can help you honor his or her last wishes as accurately as possible.
HOW IS PROPERTY DISTRIBUTED?
The way property is distributed depends on the presence of a valid will. A will can distribute property to almost any individual, but there are some restrictions. Spouses are entitled to a certain amount of property if demanded, however, and therefore cannot be completely disinherited. If the decedent did not leave a valid will, the property will be passed down according to Indiana intestate succession law.
THE COST AND LENGTH OF PROBATE IN LAKE COUNTY, IN
The cost and length of probate depend on the estate. Generally, probate takes roughly six to twelve months, but it can take longer if there are complications. If a federal estate tax return is required and is audited, it can take an additional year. Will contests and complicated creditor claims or tax issues may also extend the time it takes to administer the estate by two or more years.
If your late loved one was a resident of Lake County or Porter County, Indiana, court fees for filing the Petition for Probate, opening an estate and publishing legal notices in the newspaper will cost you approximately $200-$300. Attorney fees and personal representative fees, however, are the most expensive part of probate. Fees for the Probate Attorney and Personal Representative (Executor) may run as much as 10% of the gross value of the estate in Indiana. At Kent A. Jeffirs, Attorney at Law, PC, we will always charge only reasonable fees, agreed upon in writing up front and will always offer suggestions as to ways to reduce the time and costs associated with probate.
ENLIST THE GUIDANCE OF A CROWN POINT PROBATE LAWYER
If you are currently serving as personal representative, a probate attorney can reduce the stress of administering an estate by walking you through the entire probate court process. Not all property goes through probate, including trust funds, property held in joint tenancy or tenancy by the entirety, retirement accounts with designated beneficiaries and living trust assets. With over 20 years of experience, I am well-equipped to assist you in managing the property, filing the proper taxes and adhering to instructions from the probate court.
If you choose to work with Kent A. Jeffirs, Attorney at Law, PC, you can rest assured that you will be personally assisted by an attorney, instead of being passed off to non-attorney staff. Take advantage of my free consultation to learn about the benefits of having my team assist you in honoring your loved one’s last wishes. For more information about my client-centered approach, contact my firm today!