Probate is the legal process of settling the estate of a decedent. The steps in the process include collecting the decedent’s assets, paying debts and claims of the decedent’s estate, and distributing the remaining assets to heirs. A very important outcome of probate is to establish clear title or ownership to assets after death. Probate provides a method of removing the decedent’s name from the title of assets and replacing title with another person’s name after the decedent’s death. The probate process applies both to assets transferred by a will (testate) and to assets transferred under state law if a person dies without a will (intestate).

The size of the estate determines whether probate is required. In Indiana, if the value of real property (land or home) including personal effects exceeds $50,000 the estate is required to go through probate. If the estate is under this allowed limit, a simple affidavit procedure may be substituted for the lengthy and costly probate process. Since most people have assets valued over $50,000, most estates must be probated.

Questions an individual or business owner might have about probate proceedings might include the following:

  • Do all assets go through probate?
  • What happens in probate?
  • How long does it take to probate an estate?
  • What is the cost of probate?
  • What are the advantages of a probate proceeding?
  • What are the disadvantages of a probate proceeding?
  • Is there an alternative to probate?

Call (574) 232-3538 to schedule an appointment with one of our estate planning or elder law attorneys to discuss your estate planning needs.