Indiana Probate

Indiana Probate


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Indiana ProbateWhen a family member dies, what happens to the estate; the bank and savings accounts, the stock and bond accounts, the real estate, insurance, trusts, annuities, business interests and other assets? It depends on Indiana probate.

What is Indiana probate?

Nolo Law for All says “Probate is a legal process that takes place after someone dies.” It includes:

  • proving in court that a deceased person’s will is valid (usually a routine matter)
  • identifying and inventorying the deceased person’s property
  • having the property appraised paying debts and taxes, and
  • distributing the remaining property as the will (or state law, if there’s no will) directs.

If deceased didn’t have a will without a Will, then the property will be distributed according to Indiana law regarding intestacy (dying without a Will).

What about Indiana Probate?

Only assets that the deceased person owned in his or her own name, alone, need to go through probate. All other assets pass to new owners without oversight from the probate court. Assets that go through probate make up what’s called the “probate estate.”

Here are common kinds of property that are NOT part of the probate estate:

  • Property held in joint tenancy:  A home, bank account, or other asset held in joint tenancy by more than one person. When one owner dies, the survivor automatically owns the property.
  • Property held in tenancy by the entirety:  If the deceased person owned real estate with his or her spouse in tenancy by the entirety, the surviving spouse is automatically the sole owner.
  • Payable-on-death bank accounts:  A payable-on-death account is a bank account that passes to the POD beneficiary, without probate, at the death of the account holder.
  • Assets registered in transfer-on-death form:  Indiana residents can name transfer-on-death (TOD) beneficiaries for securities and vehicles. Assets registered in TOD form pass directly to the named beneficiary without probate.
  • Real estate transferred by a transfer-on-death (beneficiary) deed:  In Indiana, an owner of real estate can execute and record a TOD deed; this lets the property go directly to beneficiaries, without probate.
  • Life insurance proceeds:  When life insurance policies or annuities specify a beneficiary, the proceeds do not go through probate.
  • Retirement accounts. The funds in retirement accounts do not go through probate if the account holder designated a beneficiary
  • Living trust assets:  Assets held in the name of the trustee of a living trust.

Now, what about estate taxes and inheritance taxes?

Indiana residents do not need to worry about a state estate or inheritance tax unless you have an estate over $11.2 Million in 2018. Then you would have Federal taxes due.

Disclosure: Estate taxes, wills, and probate are areas that need the expertise of a lawyer who specializes in these areas. Always seek professional advice.

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