In a perfect world, estate planning should be a cut and dry affair. A will or living trust is drafted, executors, heirs and beneficiaries are named, assets and properties are allocated; and ultimately there should be no further worries.
There’s just one unavoidable problem which can arise. Probate. And it can be both a burden on both your finances and your time.
The actual cost of filing for probate in Indiana is a relatively minor one. Attorney fees, on the other hand, can be as much as $300 an hour. And those hours can add up very quickly.
When Does Probate Occur in Indiana?
For the most part, probate occurs either when the assets of the deceased have not been allocated in a will or trust (a process known as intestate law) or when a court receives a petition to open a probate request into their estate by a contesting party. More often than not, the latter scenario is the result of validating a will when an executor hasn’t been named or is otherwise indisposed.
Except both are common scenarios. It’s not unheard of for individuals to draft a will and either forget to name beneficiaries or have assets which they weren’t even aware of. In the latter case, executors are appointed by the probate court to calculate the value of those assets. It’s up to the court to decide who those assets are allocated to. And contesting legally designated heirs is far from simple.
In Indiana, a small estate affidavit can be filed if property falls under $100,000. A small estate affidavit grants the right for an executor to distribute property without going into probate 30 days after the passing of the deceased. There’s just one catch. It can’t be applied to physical property, nor can titles be transferred.
How Long Does Probate Take in Indiana?
There’s no given length of time for the process of probate in the state of Indiana. It’s entirely contingent on the circumstances of each particular case.
Informal probate occurs when all parties with an interest in the estate of the deceased agree as to how the estate is distributed and who the court appointed executor of the estate is. Normally, the process of informal probate takes no longer than six months. There’s no set time, but it’s a fairly uncomplicated affair.
Formal probate hearings, on the other hand, are much trickier. Ideally, when a formal probate request occurs, it’s the result of disagreement with the court over their appointed executor. That’s a process which can take at least six months to resolve. But it’s more common for informal probate to occur when:
- The deceased accrued a number of debts during their life which went unresolved.
- There is dispute from one or more named beneficiaries over the drafting of the will.
- One or more named beneficiaries contest that the deceased was mentally infirm during the drafting of a will.
- Assets are too complicated to distribute evenly.
But more often than not, formal probate occurs as the result of disagreement between beneficiaries towards the proper distribution of assets. In any of the preceding scenarios, the process has been known to drag on for years until a resolution is finally reached.
Retirement accounts and life insurance policies are never entered into probate except on the condition of fraud. Surviving spouses who have signed a joint tenancy clause on physical property are also free from having those assets entered into probate by a legally established right of survivorship.
Selling an Inherited House
Now that you know about probate, let’s talk about inherited properties. If you end up inheriting an unwanted house, you’ll need to decide what to do with it. Will you sell it through a realtor or sell on your own? What if it needs a lot of repairs? Do you have enough room in your budget to make that work?
If the thought of this stresses you out, we have good news! Enlight Home Buyers buys houses in ANY condition, no matter how many repairs need to be made. This means that we will buy your property and you won’t have to do a single thing to it! We can get the process rolling in as little as 7 days, so you can move on quickly and not have to worry any longer.
If this is something you’re interested in, then give us a call at 317-333-7011 or fill out the form below. We are happy to help and will give you an honest opinion of the best way to move forward.