How Indiana Probate Law Works

When a person dies, their estate and all assets must be dealt with promptly. Even while you are still in the period of grieving, you must make practical decisions about where the property will go.

If you have a will, it is expected that you will follow its directions on the estate. You will most likely need to go through probate to complete the tasks as required in the will before you can receive your inheritance.

Probate is a legal process where a court oversees the tasks involved in dispersing the estate of the deceased. Each state has specific statutes and laws that must be followed regarding the handling of the estate.

If you are in any way involved in receiving or managing an estate, you need to understand some basic information.

Image of The Last Will and Testament which may name an executor of the estate

Is Probate Required in Indiana?

Probate may be required in Indiana if the estate doesn’t meet some basic rules. An estate worth less than $50,000 will not need to go through probate. Instead, they will use the small estate administration to transfer ownership of the assets to the heirs. This means they will need an affidavit to prove they are entitled to the assets, which they can present to whoever holds the asset.

How Do You Avoid Probate in Indiana?

You can avoid going to probate for an estate in Indiana if you plan ahead carefully. One of the best ways to keep an estate out of probate is with a living revocable trust. All of the assets in the trust would go to the named beneficiary without the need for probate.

You can also avoid dealing with probate if the assets have a beneficiary or payable or transfer on death attached. Some examples include life insurance policies and retirement plans with beneficiaries, bank accounts with POD, and vehicles with TOD.

Can an Executor of an Estate in Indiana be Compensated?

The Indiana Probate Code allows for the executor to be paid, according to IC 29-1-10-13. This includes both an attorney acting as executor and a personal representative named in the will or approved by the court. However, it doesn’t require them to accept payment.

How Much Does a Personal Representative or Executor in Indiana Get Paid?

The Indiana Code doesn’t give specific guidelines for the amount of compensation an executor may receive. If the will provides for a specific amount, that is all the executor may receive. However, if no compensation was mentioned in the will or if the executor renounces that payment, they are entitled to an amount as determined by the court as just and reasonable.

How Long Does Probate Take in Indiana?

The timeline for probate to be completed will vary based on the size and complexity of the estate. In general, expect it to take at least six months up to a year before probate is closed and the assets distributed to the heirs. If there are disputes, claims against the estate or other delays, it could take much longer.

Do All Estates Have to Go Through Probate in Indiana?

Not all estates must go through probate in Indiana. If they qualify as small estates with $50,000 or less in assets, the executor doesn’t need to file probate. However, for those estates that do require probate, they have two options.

First is the supervised probate where the court must approve all steps taken by the executor. Unsupervised probate is much simpler and less costly because the court doesn’t have to oversee all aspects of the distribution of the estate.

Does a Will Have to Be Probated in Indiana?

Indiana code requires the will to be filed with the court. This allows the court to verify the will as valid or to handle disputes if anyone contests the will. Even if the estate doesn’t need to go through formal probate, the will must be presented to the court.

The Indiana Probate Process

Probate Process in 7 Steps

Settling an estate in Indiana requires following specific guidelines. It is important to meet the deadlines and complete all the steps in the process.

Step 1

The Executor of the estate files a petition with the court to open probate.

Step 2

The court appoints an Executor of Estate or Personal Representative.

Step 3

The Executor of the Estate notifies the heirs and publishes notice of probate for creditors.

Step 4

The Executor takes inventory of all assets of the estate and appraises their value.

Step 5

The Executor pays the debts of the estate, including any money owed to creditors who file a claim against the estate. If assets must be sold to pay the debts, the executor will need to get approval from the court for the sale.

Step 6

The final tax returns are filed and any taxes are paid from the estate.

Step 7

The assets of the estate are distributed to the heirs and probate is closed.


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How Long Do You Have to File Probate After a Death in Indiana?

The person in possession of the will at the time of the deceased person’s death must present the will to the court before probate can begin. They must present it within a reasonable time, or they may be compelled to do so by the personal representative. For small estates, they must wait 45 days to file the affidavit, which would also allow them that timeline for filing the will.

Probate Court in Indiana

Probate in Indiana may be handled by the circuit or superior court, depending on the county. When you file probate, it will be in the county where the deceased person lived in most cases. You can check the Indiana government website to find the court for your county

Probate Code in Indiana

Indiana has its own probate code which is outlined in Title 29 of the Indiana Code. You can find the full details of probate requirements on the Indiana government website: