Merrillville Probate Lawyers

Merrillville Probate Lawyers

Probate is a legal process that involves validating the will of a person who recently died or administering the estate of a person who died without leaving a will. But what may seem like a simple, straightforward process can become very complicated very quickly, especially if it involves multiple family members having competing agendas. Probate often requires the help of a skilled Merrillville probate lawyer who can advocate for your best interests.

The probate lawyers at Spagnolo & Hoeksema, LLC, can guide you through this process with confidence, helping to fulfill the wishes of a testator and distribute an estate to the intended heirs and beneficiaries.

Probate Process

When there is a will in a probate case, one of the first steps will be to prove that the will is valid in court. Probate matters in Indiana are handled at the local county circuit court, except for Marion County, which has a separate probate court.

When a decedent has no will, the court applies state laws of intestacy to determine how to settle the decedent’s debts and distribute their assets. The court will also need to appoint an administrator to act as the estate’s personal representative. Allowing the court to make these decisions on your behalf is not a good idea, and having a solid estate plan is vital if you wish to have any control over how your estate is handled. If you need assistance creating your estate plan, our Merrillville probate lawyers can help.

Factors that Can Impact the Probate Process

There are an almost endless number of ways for probate cases to become complicated. Here are just a few considerations to keep in mind, even if your property and assets are relatively small:

  • If a decedent owned real estate in a state where they were not a resident, the papers must be filed in the county where the real estate is. As a result, the case may involve laws in multiple states, making the assistance of an attorney essential to a positive outcome.
  • Payment of any obligations a decedent owes must happen before beneficiaries receive their share of the remaining estate. Payment of creditors typically occurs in the following order: estate administration costs, family allowances, funeral expenses, taxes, and then debts. An attorney can assist you in fulfilling these obligations.
  • Only the assets that were the sole property of a decedent will be subject to probate. This frequently includes all personal property, cash, and any property with tenants in common. The probate estate will not include payable-on-death bank accounts, securities, and vehicles named in transfer-on-death forms. The same goes for life insurance proceeds specifying beneficiaries, retirement accounts designating beneficiaries, and assets jointly owned with a right of survivorship.

Call Us Today to Schedule a Free Consultation with Our Merrillville Probate Lawyers

Probate often results in highly complicated legal issues. If you have doubts about your rights and responsibilities or are just unsure how to start, talk to the experienced team at Spagnolo & Hoeksema, LLC.

Our firm knows how strenuous the probate process can be for everybody involved, but we will work to make sure that you are able to achieve a justifiable estate settlement. You can call us or contact us online for a free consultation at which we can discuss the best way to proceed.

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