Opening An Estate in Lake County
Opening an estate in Indiana simply means that the Last Will and Testament of the deceased is filed with the Court, together with a Petition asking the Court to probate the estate of the decedent, as testate; or if there is no Will, then there is still the filing of a Petition asking the Court to probate, as intestate, the estate of the decedent. The heirs are listed in the Petition and a notice is sent by the Court to each heir, notifying them of the opening of the estate.
Process of Opening an Estate Differs in States
The process of opening an estate is very similar to most states, though they are different, and can be quite complex. Knowing when to open an estate is a function of the lawyer. The lawyer for the Indiana estate will work closely with the Personal Representative, sometimes called the Executor or Executrix. Together, they will gather all the financial information about the deceased and present an accurate picture to the Court as to the value of the estate, as well as any bills and creditors of the estate. Each known creditor will be notified of the opening of the estate and they have a limited amount of time in which to file their claim against the estate. The values listed in the Petition will not include any assets that were held in a Living Trust of the decedent.
Inventory taken after opening an Estate
An inventory is sometimes filed, depending on whether the estate if supervised or not supervised. This is a listing of all of the assets of the estate. Eventually, once the assets are assembled, there may come a time when many, or all of the assets are liquidated. In other words, the assets are sold, or otherwise converted into cash and deposited into the estate account that was established. For example, there may be stocks that were owned by the decedent, as well as a home and furnishings. These will be sold and the cash received from the sale will be deposited into the estate account.
Distribution after opening an Estate
Eventually, the Court is petitioned to allow distribution of the assets of the estate to the heirs. Each heir is typically responsible for payment of any taxes that might be owed to the state by virtue of the inheritance taxes imposed upon the transfer of the gift to the heir. It may be that there is no tax owed, if the heir is a son or daughter, for example, and the gift is less than $100,000.00. If the Will indicates that those taxes are to be paid from the estate, then the heir will not be responsible for the payment, but instead, the estate will pay the tax. These tax payments are almost always done prior to any distribution of the inheritance gift to the heir.
From opening an estate to closing takes time
The amount of time it takes to probate an estate will vary on the complexity of the estate. It can sometimes take years, but an average time is around one year from the date of death, but it is not unusual for the process to take two or more years.
At the end, a final accounting is given to the Court and the estate is closed.
Opening an Estate in the state of Indiana can be a complex matter and almost always requires the services of an attorney.
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