3 FAQs About Settling an Estate in Indiana
January 9, 2023
After losing a loved one, there are a lot of logistics, legalities, and transactions to consider. Even if the deceased left behind a detailed will or made a host of arrangements in advance, settling their estate can be challenging. Thankfully, you don’t have to do it alone.
A seasoned estate planning attorney can guide you through every stage of the proceedings. To commence these proceedings with confidence, here are the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions on the subject:
1. Who Is Responsible for Guiding the Estate Through Probate?
The executor named in the deceased’s will is responsible for settling the estate. Once the court issues a document called “letters testamentary,” the executor can assume authority over the deceased’s assets.
If there is no will, one of the deceased’s family members may ask the court to appoint them as administrator. The court will then have to issue “letters of general administration” for the case to proceed. Like letters testamentary, this document gives the administrator the authority to settle the estate.
2. Does Everything Have to Pass Through Probate?
There are several kinds of assets that can transfer directly to their new owners without oversight from the probate court. Some of the most common examples include:
- Payable-on-death bank accounts,
- Property held in tenancy by the entirety,
- Property held in joint tenancy,
- Real estate transferred by a transfer-on-death deed,
- Retirement accounts,
- Life insurance proceeds, and
- Living trust assets.
It’s also worth noting that smaller estates can sometimes be settled in an alternative way, even if they contain property that usually passes through probate. In most cases, for example, estates that are valued at less than $100,000 can be settled through a simple affidavit process.
3. How Long Does It Take to Settle an Estate?
Since every estate is unique, there’s no predetermined timeline for completing the probate process. Generally speaking, though, fairly simple estates can typically be settled within about six months. Larger and more complex estates — or those involving disputed assets — can take considerably longer.
While probate rarely takes more than a year, there are scenarios in which it can extend well beyond the 12-month mark. With help from a seasoned attorney, however, you can at least avoid preventable delays, like those due to processing errors or accidental oversights.
Discuss Your Case with an Estate Planning Lawyer in Lafayette
If you need to settle an estate in Indiana, you can count on Ball Eggleston for legal guidance every step of the way. We serve families across the Greater Lafayette area. Call (765) 742‑9046 or submit the Contact Form on our website to schedule a meeting with one of our Lafayette estate planning attorneys.
The content of this blog is intended to be general and informational in nature. It is advertising material and is not intended to be, nor is it, legal advice to or for any particular person, case, or circumstance. Each situation is different, and you should consult an attorney if you have any questions about your situation.