ESTATE ADMINISTRATION

Estate or trust administration is the process that enables the payment of final expenses and debts, distribution of assets to the individuals or entities named in the Will or Trust, and closure of the decedent's financial affairs.  We provide comprehensive legal services to the Personal Representative, beneficiaries or Trustee throughout the administration.

If your family has experienced the loss of a family member, we can guide you through and demystify the administration process

We assist our clients with probate administration, non-probate administration, and trust administration, offering personal attention each step of the way. Some of these steps include:

  • File required documents with the Court

  • Notify creditors

  • Evaluate and pay estate claims

  • Identify deceased person's property

  • Obtain appraisal of property

  • Properly distribute assets

  • Close the Estate

At Troyer & Good, PC we understand that losing a loved one is a difficult process. We want to make it as easy as possible for you and as cost-effective as possible. We work closely with the Executor to assist in distributing your loved one's assets the way they wanted in their Will/Trust (or to whomever is entitled by law if there is no Will/Trust).  

 

We also help to keep the cost of this process minimal. In most cases, it is possible to proceed with “unsupervised" administration instead of a "court supervised" estate administration. "Unsupervised" administration often allows things to proceed more quickly and with far less cost.​

Probate Administration:  
Court process to distribute property that was owned, settle final debts and funeral expenses, and pay death taxes. A Personal Representative will be appointed to take care of these things. 

We can help when you've lost a loved one

What should I bring to an appointment? If the deceased person had a Last Will and Testament and/or Trust, bring those original documents with you. We will eventually need the following documents, though you may not have them with you at your initial appointment: death certificate, account statements for all accounts and assets, and any Deeds.

 

What is Estate Administration? Estate Administration is finalizing a deceased person’s financial affairs. This includes gathering assets, paying debts, expenses and taxes, and distributing what is left to those who are entitled to it. Those who are entitled would include those named in the Will (if the decedent left one) and beneficiary designations. If the decedent did not leave a Will, then property is distributed according to Indiana’s statute of intestacy.  The decedent is the person who died. A Last Will and Testament is a legal document that tells the personal representative how to distribute the decedent’s assets. The Personal Representative is the person appointed by the Court to administer the assets of the decedent.

 

What is the difference between Personal Representative, Executor, and Administrator? An executor is a person named in the Will whereas an administrator is a person appointed by the Court because there is no Will. Personal Representative refers generally to both terms.  

What is supervised or unsupervised administration? Estate administration can be either supervised or unsupervised. Supervised administration is administration that is supervised directly by the Court. The Personal Representative must seek the Court’s approval to sell real estate, personal property, or any other asset. Unsupervised administration allows the Personal Representative to perform most of the administration without direct supervision by the Court. However, before authorizing unsupervised administration, the Court must decide that the Personal Representative is qualified to administer the estate unsupervised. Also, all the beneficiaries of the estate must agree to unsupervised administration, unless the Will authorizes unsupervised administration. Generally, supervised administration usually ends up being more expensive because there is more interaction with the Court.

What is probate? Probate is the proving and acceptance by the Court of the Will. After death, the Will is presented to the Probate Court. Upon approval of the Court, the Will is admitted to probate. Probate also refers to the process by which the decedent’s assets are distributed to the heirs. If the probate estate (less liens and encumbrances) is worth less than $50,000, then formal probate through the Court is not required. Assets that are jointly owned or that have beneficiary designations also avoid probate.

 

What are the advantages of probate? A main function of the Probate Court is to see that the decedent’s assets are administered according to the state law and that the rights of the heirs, beneficiaries, and creditors are protected.One advantage to the probate process is that known creditors are sent a timely notice of administration which is also published in the newspaper. If they do not file a claim within three months of the newspaper publication, they cannot later pursue the debt from the heirs.  Another advantage, in some situations, is court oversight of family conflicts and supervision of the Personal Representative. The probate process terminates when the decedent’s assets have been distributed to the heirs or beneficiaries entitled to it, after the payment of taxes, expenses, and claims.

Should I avoid probate? Since probate estates pass through the court, this makes the Will and other related documents part of the public record.  When you avoid probate, there is no public proceeding and privacy is maintained.  However, when there is no probate estate, creditors are permitted to pursue heirs for nine months after the death versus the three month creditor claim period with a probate estate.  One key thing to keep in mind is that avoiding probate does not mean avoiding taxes.  Taxes are owed in both probate and non-probate estates.

What if I die without a Will in Indiana? If you die without a Will, then your property and assets will be distributed according to the Indiana laws of intestacy. The law of intestacy is the state’s predetermined plan for what happens to your assets. For Indiana, your estate will be distributed as follows: 

  • If you are survived by a spouse and children, then 50% to your spouse and 50% to your children. 

  • If you are survived by a spouse and parent but no children, then 75% to your spouse and 25% to your parents.

  • If you are survived by a spouse only, then 100% to your spouse.

  • If you are unmarried with children, then 100% to your children.

  • If you are unmarried with no children, then 100% equally to your parents and siblings. If no parents or siblings, then to grandparents. If no grandparents, then to aunts and uncles. If no aunts and uncles, then to the state of Indiana.

What are the duties of a Personal Representative? A Personal Representative signs all inventories, tax returns, accountings, and Court petitions. The Personal Representative is liable for filing all these documents on time. Some of the filing deadlines include: the inventory, final income tax returns, estate income tax returns, and the federal estate tax return. All estate checks and monies must be kept in a separate bank account. The heirs have a right to know what is going on in the estate administration. If someone questions or objects to any of the Personal Representative's actions, he or she might need to appear in court. However, if the Personal Representative can show the court that his or her actions were proper, then the objections will be overruled. 

 

How long does Estate Administration take? All estates must stay open a minimum of three months from the first date the notice of administration is published in the newspaper. The length of time it will take to close the estate will depend on the type and extent of assets in the estate, whether any claims are filed, and whether anyone objects to the Personal Representative's actions or expenses paid. In a supervised estate, the Court enters an Order closing the estate and discharges the Personal Representative. In an unsupervised estate, the estate is closed three months after your attorney files a closing statement, as long as no objections are filed.

Fort Wayne, Indiana attorneys offering services in estate planning, Wills, Trusts, estate and trust administration, probate, elder law, Medicaid, asset protection, and guardianship.

​© 2019 by Madyson Shannon