Indiana probate court is where the distribution of a deceased person’s assets occurs.
The process can be lengthy, tedious and expensive for your loved ones. Thankfully, there are ways to avoid the process.
Real estate and vehicles
Indiana law allows transfer-on-death designations for real estate and vehicles. Before your death, you can sign a beneficiary deed to ensure that a piece of real estate transfers directly into the ownership of a designated beneficiary. The process is similar for a vehicle. You register a beneficiary to automatically take ownership of the vehicle when you die.
Accounts and securities
You can also control the transfer of bank accounts and securities. Indiana allows payable-on-death designations for certificates of deposit, savings accounts and checking accounts. You can also designate a transfer-on-death beneficiary for any securities you own, such as stocks and bonds.
Right of survivorship
Any property you own jointly with another person will transfer directly to the surviving owner. Forms of joint ownership include joint tenancy and tenancy by entirety. The latter specifically refers to joint ownership between spouses.
Trusts and wills
One significant difference between a will and a living trust is the ability to bypass probate. A living trust can, but a will cannot. Both explain how you plan to distribute your assets after death. However, with a living trust, you maintain control until your death, at which time the successor trustee will oversee asset distribution.
An estate plan is not about wealth. It is about ensuring the fulfillment of your wishes after death.