In many situations, it is not possible to benefit from Indiana’s simplified probate procedures. When an estate is required to go through a full probate process that includes probate court approval for most actions it is considered supervised probate. The supervised probate process can be complex and time-consuming, requiring frequent court filings and appearances.
If supervised probate is your only option, it is important to have the help of an experienced Indiana probate attorney who can guide you through the long process in the most efficient way possible. Call Hessler Law today at (317) 886-8800.
Reasons for Supervised Probate
Since supervised probate leads to the court reviewing and approving most of the actions taken in administering an estate, it is most often used in situations where there are conflicts or problems that require the probate court to make impartial decisions. These situations can include the following:
- The estate is contested– These are the instances that are often dramatized on television or in movies. When there are disputes over the validity of a will or the distribution of assets called for by a will, the probate court is needed to settle the conflicts and administer the estate according to the wishes of the decedent.
- The is estate is not solvent– If an estate has more debts than it has assets the probate court has to supervise the probate process to ensure the assets are divided fairly among the creditors.
- The estate is complex– When the estate of a decedent involves many assets or assets that are difficult to value oversight by the probate court can ensure that the estate is valued and distributed correctly.
Petition for Probate
The supervised probate process begins when a petition for probate is filed in a court having jurisdiction over the decedent’s estate. The petition can be filed by any person having an interest in the estate, regardless of whether or not the decedent left a will. The petition is required to provide information about the decedent, state whether they died testate or intestate, and identify the name and residence of each heir.
If the decedent died with a will the petition can be filed for the purpose of probating the will and the designation of the executor named in the will. If the executor named in the will is not qualified or unable to serve, the petition can seek the designation of an administrator for the estate. If the decedent died intestate, then a petition for probate can seek the appointment of an administrator for the estate. The appointed executor or administrator is considered the personal representative of the estate.
Notice of Administration
Once a personal representative has been appointed, the clerk of courts publishes notice of the estate administration in the local newspaper and also notifies by mail each heir identified in the petition for probate. The personal representative must then serve notice on all known creditors of the estate within one month after the publication of the notice of administration by the clerk of courts. The purpose of the notice is to let anyone with a claim against the estate know the deadlines for filing their claim.
Within two months after a personal representative has been appointed for the estate that representative must prepare a verified inventory of the decedent’s estate. The estate inventory must contain at least one written document and state the fair market value of each item of property in the estate. The inventory must also identify any known liens on property of the estate.
Management of the Estate
The personal representative is in charge of managing the estate, payment of inheritance and estate taxes, and handling all claims against the estate that are filed before the deadlines. In order to properly manage the estate the personal representative is required to take possession of all the real and personal property of the decedent. However, in a supervised probate, the personal representative must get court approval for most actions undertaken in managing the estate. Actions that require court approval include the investment of estate funds, the sale or lease of estate property, the abandonment of valueless property, and continuing any business of the decedent.
Settlement and Distribution of the Estate
Indiana law requires a personal representative to close an estate as quickly as possible. A final accounting for the estate must be filed within one year of the personal representative’s appointment unless good cause is provided to the court. When filing the final account for the estate the personal representative must also petition the court for an order to distribute the estate. The petition for distribution must specify the persons to receive distributions from the estate and the parts of the estate to which they are entitled.
After the filing of the petition for distribution, a notice of the hearing of the petition is sent out to everyone entitled to share in the final distribution of the estate. After the hearing is held, the probate court then issues a decree of final distribution. The decree of final distribution designates who receives the distributions from the estate and what they receive. The decree of final distribution serves as the final adjudication of the transfer of the estate to the distributees and ends the estate’s probate.
How an Indianapolis Supervised Probate Attorney Can Help
Supervised probate is needed when estates have issues that are best resolved by the court. Dealing with complex property issues or heirs that disagree about estate distribution combined with probate court oversight of most actions means lots of paperwork and court appearances. A knowledgeable Indianapolis probate attorney will be able to help you move through the supervised probate process as smoothly as possible while you cope with the loss of someone close to you.
Attorney Sean Hessler is an Indianapolis probate lawyer who understands the complexities of the supervised probate and has helped many clients navigate the process. Call Hessler Law PC at (317) 886-8800 today for a free and confidential consultation if you believe an estate has issues that might require supervised probate.