Tips for Executors: The Basic Steps of Indiana Probate Administration
I am named executor for a family member that recently passed away. Where do I get started?
Serving as executor or executrix for a loved one’s estate can be both an honor and – for some – a great burden. As experienced practitioners of probate law, our office can help take the stress and anxiety out of this process, and allow you the opportunity to complete the tasks at hand with minimal difficulty.
If you are new to the estate administration process, you may be wondering where to begin. The following offers a timeline for the probate process in Indiana, and should serve as a starting point as you begin your journey:
Step #1: The first step for an executor is to become officially appointed as such by the Indiana probate court. This is accomplished by taking the original Last Will and Testament and a Petition for Probate to the probate court in the county where either the decedent lived or owned real estate. At this point, the probate court will provide the executor with Letters of Probate, which provide authority over the estate assets and allow the executor to lawfully handle the decedent’s assets and debts.
Step #2: If the administration will be supervised by the court, the next step is to file an inventory of assets and liabilities. Not all estates require this step, however, and an estate administration lawyer can help you better decide if you need supervised or unsupervised administration.
Step #3: Handling creditor claims is a big part of the administration process, and creditors have just three months from the date notice is published or mailed to properly file a claim against the estate.
Step #4: Distributing assets is the last step in the administration process, and must be done after the estate’s debts and liabilities are disposed of. Assets are to be divided according to the executor’s directions in his or her Last Will and Testament, and the executor is required to handle this responsibility in a timely manner.