Probating a will

On Behalf of | Jul 26, 2022 | Probate

Whether an Indiana resident dies with or without a will, transferring any of the deceased’s assets from one party to another often requires going through probate court. Depending on the case’s particulars, the probate process might move swiftly or be complicated.

Details about probate

Upon the testator’s passing, the executor named in the will opens up the estate in probate court. The judge may review the will to determine its validity. If the will is valid, the probate process might soon begin.

When someone passes away without a will or a trust, Indiana’s intestacy laws will likely apply. So, the estate enters probate, but since no document establishes the deceased’s wishes, state statutes determine asset distribution.

Most people may assume probate only involves asset distribution, but the deceased may have debts that require settling. Creditors might need to receive payments for outstanding obligations before beneficiaries receive assets.

That said, some assets transfer outside of probate. Jointly held accounts and property, or accounts with transfer on death beneficiary designations. Sometimes, probate is unnecessary because all the deceased’s assets have joint owners to listed beneficiaries.

Other matters during probate

The probate court may require filing all tax documents before closing the process. Even when the deceased’s estate falls below federal estate tax thresholds, filing personal tax returns could be necessary.

Probate might prove complicated when someone contests the will. Contesting the will requires cause and proof. Not liking a testator’s decision won’t be enough to overturn the document’s directives. Proof of fraud or another legitimate reason becomes necessary. Even then, a judge’s ruling determines the outcome of any challenges.