Probate involves validating the will of a person who recently died or possibly administering the distribution of assets for a person who died without leaving a will, but what seems like a simple, straightforward process can become very complicated very quickly if it involves multiple family members having competing agendas. Probate will often require the help of a skilled Merrillville probate lawyer who will be able to look out for your best interests.
The probate process can be incredibly lengthy and expensive, and in most cases, the intent of the maker of a will not receive proper attention as the heirs and beneficiaries argue about receiving their due inheritance. The probate lawyers at Spagnolo & Hoeksema, LLC, can act quickly to fulfill the wishes of a testator and distribute an estate to all of the truly intended heirs and beneficiaries.
The probate case is likely to involve many of the following terms:
When there is a will in a probate case, the will must be proven valid in court before it will be acceptable. Probate matters in Indiana happen at the local county circuit court, except for Marion County, which has a separate probate court.
When there is no will, the court applies state laws of intestacy to figure out the hierarchy of how to distribute a decedent’s assets and appoint an administrator to act as the estate’s personal representative. Probate will begin when an executor files the will, and a document called a petition for probate in the county where the decedent lived.
If a decedent was not a resident of the state where real estate was found, then the papers must be filed in the county where the real estate is. The executor will receive a document called letters testamentary, granting them authority over the estate as well as the title of the personal representative.
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.
Payment of any obligations a decedent owes must happen before any beneficiaries receive their share. Payment of creditors typically occurs in the following order: estate administration costs, family allowances, funeral expenses, taxes, and then debts.
In Indiana, there are two probate processes for smaller estates that may expedite the transfer of a decedent’s property:
Probate generally includes:
All of this can take a lot of work, especially when an estate has significant assets.
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 that will let us take a closer look at your case and give you solid advice about what you can do and know the best way to proceed.
If you want an excellent lawyer that handles trusts, wills and etc., call Kristin Hoeksema. She is very knowledgeable and professional. When she handles a case you know you can relax because she goes above and beyond. I can’t say enough good things about her. She handled a case for me where the other lawyer told me I was entitled to nothing and now I am getting a percentage.
Our office has worked with Spagnolo & Hoeksema LLC on a number of matters. Their attorneys and staff are first rate and a joy to work with. I would highly recommend their office!
I highly recommend calling Kristy Hoeksema for all your legal needs. When I first contacted Kristy, she returned my calls in a timely manner and was very informative right off the bat! She not only explained everything in layman’s terms, she took care of my legal needs quickly and painlessly. Thanks Kristy!!
Spagnolo & Hoeksema, LLC has been a trusted and valuable partner for many years. They know the ins and outs of our businesses and provide us with the professional expertise that we require.
As business owners ourselves, we understand the
importance of cost-consciousness when seeking
legal services. Receiving the right legal
advice can serve as a valuable investment in the
interest of your business. By securing the help of
a knowledgeable attorney, you’re better equipped
for the road ahead. Contact our firm now to discuss
all facets of estate planning and business law.