Why Choose Our Probate Attorneys?
Plan for the future and understand what happens to your assets after you die. Your lawyers for life.
Probate refers to the legal process that takes place to distribute a person's assets after he or she passes away. In order to make sure your assets are used to help the people you love and the organizations you care about, you need a probate attorney who understands the process.
At Hocker Law, LLC, we're happy to help with all of your probate and estate planning needs. Getting the process done properly with the aid of an experienced attorney will ensure that your wishes are followed and your loved ones are protected even after you are gone.
What is Probate?
Probate court is the branch of the judicial system that settles the financial affairs of deceased persons. The actions taken by a probate court depend on the size of the estate and the presence or absence of a last will and testament.
A probate court’s first step is to examine the last will and testament to make sure it was properly prepared and executed; if so, the will is admitted to probate. Once the will has been admitted, the court appoints a personal representative to administer the estate; usually, this person is identified in the will. The administration is then handled in one of two ways:
- In supervised administration, the personal representative needs court approval before selling or distributing the property of the estate. This type of administration is most common when the estate is disputed, and it is required if the estate is bankrupt. Some wills may also specifically request supervised administration.
- In unsupervised administration, the court appoints the personal representative, who is then free to administer the estate without court approval on each individual action. Unsupervised administration is used when the will specifically requests it or when all of the beneficiaries agree to it. The estate also must be solvent.
Not all estates in Indiana need to pass through the probate process. By law, if the estate has less than $50,000 in assets, the estate need not go through probate. Rather, the lawful heir can collect the estate using a small estate affidavit.
How much does probate cost?
The cost to probate an estate varies, but you can make an estimate based upon the amount of work to be done by lawyers, accountants, tax preparers and appraisers, though. This work may include:
- Taking an inventory of property
- Appraising and selling property
- Paying off debts
- Dealing with creditors
- Filing taxes
How long does probate take?
Probate closes out the debts of an estate and therefore must be kept open to allow potential creditors time to make a claim against it. Indiana law states that this period shall be three months after the date of the first published notice to creditors or three months after the court has revoked probate of a will, whichever is later.
After this period, it varies based on how long it takes to settle any claims, liquidate or distribute any assets, prep and file taxes, and anything else needed for the settlement of the estate.
How can you avoid probate?
Indiana offers a simplified probate process for property valued up to $50,000. The process is streamlined, with no court involvement, but the estate must meet certain requirements. Estate planning is another way to avoid probate. In order to safeguard your assets, make sure your wishes are followed, and provide for your loved ones after you're gone, you can hire a lawyer to help plan your estate today.
Seasoned probate attorneys at Hocker Law, LLC
The probate process can seem difficult and confusing, especially in the aftermath of losing a loved one. However, with the help of an effective and experienced family law attorney, probate can actually be a reasonably smooth and effective way to administer an estate and move on after a death.
At Hocker Law, LLC, we're here to be your lawyers for life, and that includes helping to plan for what will happen after a loss. Our family law attorneys will guide you through every step of the probate process. Call us at (317) 578-1630 to schedule a free consultation.