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Heather Jones

In this article we will cover questions regarding the length of Indiana probate, and how much Indiana probate will cost. The short answer to the question about how long it will take depends on a few factors, the size and complexity of the estate being probated and whether or not the will is challenged. Read on for a general overview of what you can expect from an Indiana probate.  

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Indiana Probate

If a citizen of Indiana passes away in that state, their will is handled by the probate court of that state. Probate means the process of the court establishing the validity of the will. This is actually something that is very important to the court because the court wants to be certain that the wishes of the deceased party are carried out. If the estate is small, $50,000 or less in value, Indiana offers alternatives to the probate process. Either the person who is inheriting personal property can submit an affidavit swearing that they are entitled to the personal property, or the property can still move through the probate court in a simplified and expedited process. These methods are not allowed if there is real estate to be transferred. 

What is the probate process in Indiana?

The probate process will start when the executor of the will (usually named in the will itself) files a petition for probate along with a copy of the will with the probate court. The appropriate probate court will be in the county where the deceased lived. If the will is uncontested, the process should flow fairly smoothly. If the will is contested by a party who believes they should receive a share or a larger share, the process can slow down considerably. Once the will is found to be valid and there is no contest remaining, the assets of the estate will be distributed.

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Indiana Probate Timeframe

In Indiana, the probate process can take a few weeks or take more than a year. The timeframe for an estate to be probated depends on the size and complexity of the estate in question. If the estate is smaller, it only has a few easily identified assets, and the will is unchallenged. 

The probate must also be held open for a period in order to allow creditors of the estate to file claims for any debts the estate might owe. In Indiana, a creditor has three months to file a claim, but it could take longer for the claim to be resolved if the estate fights the collection. 

Another factor that affects how long the probate takes is if all the beneficiaries get along and agree with one another. If one or more beneficiaries have an issue with how the estate is distributed, you run the risk of further litigation, extending the amount of time it takes to probate.

A serious consideration in trying to estimate how long it will take to probate is if there are any challenges to the will. A beneficiary or even an outside party not named in the will can always bring a lawsuit claiming that the will is invalid in some way. A party can claim that the person creating the will was not of sound mind when they did it or under undue duress by another party. Furthermore, a party can claim that the will was created based on a fraudulent issue or under undue influence by another person when drafting the will. These types of claims are serious and typically require a full trial to be addressed appropriately. Depending on the complexity of the litigation and the court’s calendar, it could quickly go on for over a year. For more information on specifics in Indiana probate timeline read our article, What Happens When a Will is Discovered After Probate?

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How Much Does Probate Cost in Indiana?

The fees to probate an estate in Indiana vary depending on the size of the estate, attorney’s fees, and if any professionals must be hired to deal with the assets of the estate. Court filing fees must be paid in order to enter probate. If there are assets that need to be appraised and sold, the fees will increase to pay the professionals to perform the work. If there is debt owed by the estate, those debts will need to be paid, or the matter litigated if the creditor is not bringing a lawful claim. If the will is challenged, attorneys should be hired to litigate the challenge. The estate must also file a federal and state tax return prior to being closed out, and that will increase the cost as well. In other words, the costs will increase depending on the amount of work to be done. 

Another factor to consider is if the probate is eligible for unsupervised administration. If the administration is unsupervised, then it will probably be less expensive. If it is a supervised administration, it will most likely cost more. Supervised administration is where the court keeps an eye on everything the administrator or executor does, while unsupervised is a more relaxed process with less judicial oversight. The unsupervised approach works best when the family members tend to get along, and no one has any serious issue with the contents of the will and the proposed distribution of assets.

Some parties may try to avoid probate in order to avoid additional costs, but this approach can backfire. If the estate owes debts or alleged debts, the entire process could become more expensive than it has to be. It is always a good idea to consult with an attorney if you are contemplating avoiding probate. 

If you are a beneficiary or a party who believes that they should have been a named beneficiary in a will, you should consult with an Indiana probate attorney to discuss your concerns about the process of probate or if you believe the will should be challenged. The deadlines and timeframes for a probate proceeding leave little room for mistakes, and an experienced probate attorney can assess your situation and properly advise you on risks, benefits, and potential outcomes. If you are interested in getting through probate quickly, with minimal cost, the assistance of an experienced probate attorney will make that more likely. If the experienced probate attorneys at O’Flaherty Law can be of any assistance, please feel free to give us a call; we would be happy to help.

Disclaimer: The information provided on this blog is intended for general informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject matter. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute an attorney-client relationship. Each individual's legal needs are unique, and these materials may not be applicable to your legal situation. Always seek the advice of a competent attorney with any questions you may have regarding a legal issue. Do not disregard professional legal advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this blog.

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