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Considerations to avoid probate in Indiana

Do you want to plan your estate to avoid probate? This court-supervised process of administering your will according to your wishes can sometimes delay the transfer of property to your heirs.

Review the rules about probate in Indiana and strategies to help expedite the administration of your estate.

Designate beneficiaries

You can often bypass probate by naming beneficiaries to inherit specific assets. Examples include:

  • Transfer on death certificates for stocks, bonds and other securities
  • Payable on death designations for bank accounts and certificates of deposit
  • Transfer on death designations for real estate and vehicles

Each institution has its own process for completing these forms as part of your estate plan.

Establish joint tenancy

Indiana does not require probate for assets you own with someone else, an arrangement called joint tenancy. Property held in joint tenancy passes to the surviving owner when the other owner dies. If you own real estate with your spouse, it will automatically transfer to him or her under tenancy by the entirety.

Create a trust

With a living trust, you create a separate legal entity and transfer ownership of property to that entity. You also name someone to act as the trustee and manage the assets held in the trust after you die. You can place any type of property in the ownership of the trust, including but not limited to vehicles, bank accounts and real estate.

If your estate holds assets of less than $50,000 excluding property that falls into one of the categories above, it will qualify for the state’s simplified probate.