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Understanding probate and ways to avoid it

On Behalf of | Sep 21, 2023 | Probate

Estate planning in Indiana involves making some very serious decisions. Many people want to avoid estate planning because of the time and stress involved. But no matter what assets you have, you can benefit from creating a sound legal estate plan to ensure that your assets are divided as desired after you pass away. Without a solid estate plan, your loved ones may have to deal with probate, a process that can be emotionally draining on a family when they’re already grieving.

How probate works

When someone dies, their assets must be distributed. If there is no will, which is called dying intestate, the court will decide how to distribute the assets during the probate process. Probate is the process where the estate is settled, which means that creditors may make claims against the estate before assets are distributed. The estate administrator oversees the process, so when you’re choosing an administrator, be sure to choose someone trustworthy and dependable.

During probate, the estate administrator is responsible for carrying out the wishes of the deceased. Probate provides an opportunity for the court to examine the will to be sure it’s valid. Without a will, the court will appoint someone to act in place of the estate administrator. When there is no will, any assets are distributed to close family members after debts are paid.

Can you avoid probate?

Some people wish to create a foolproof estate plan, so their loved ones don’t have to go through the probate process. This may be possible in some cases. The key is to make sure none of your assets must pass through probate. There are many strategies that allow you to accomplish this. You can create trusts, own assets jointly with family members, keep joint accounts that allow a trusted family member to access assets, and purchase life insurance policies that list the names of beneficiaries.

Seek help when estate planning

While estate planning can be stressful, it’s important to have a thorough plan in place so you feel confident that your wishes will be taken care of after you pass. Understanding the Indiana state laws for estate planning and probate can help you create a legally binding plan that names your estate administrator, lists your heirs and the property you want them to receive, and includes other important matters. The estate planning process can be complicated if you try to do it on your own, so it’s helpful to seek advice from someone who understands the laws in the state.