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Many families have concerns about the length and cost of the probate process. In Indiana, some estates can avoid probate.

Review available probate exemptions and consider estate planning strategies to qualify for simplified probate.

Assets that bypass probate

Indiana state law allows the estate executor to transfer most property directly to the beneficiary, including:

  • Any assets with a transfer-on-death deed, including real estate
  • Bank accounts for which the deceased person named an inheritor
  • Living trust assets
  • Any assets the deceased person owned with a spouse or family member, including financial accounts and real estate
  • Retirement accounts with a named beneficiary

The simplified probate process

Indiana only requires court-supervised probate when the deceased person was the sole owner of more than $50,000 in assets. This does not include the probate-exempt assets listed above.

During the estate planning process, the person can establish a trust or designate individuals to inherit most property. This arrangement allows the executor to avoid probate completely.

When an estate does require simplified or formal probate, the process starts when a family member or the will’s executor files a court petition in the county where the deceased lived. The court will grant permission for the family member or executor to settle estate debts and distribute property to the beneficiaries.

Some situations require formal probate regardless of the value of the estate. This may apply if the deceased person has more debts than assets or owned distinctive items that are difficult to value, such as art. Probate also occurs if the person did not have a will, the will is not clear or someone contested the will in court.

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