You likely know that if you die without an estate plan, the state will step in and manage your affairs. However, sometimes, even if you have an estate plan in Indiana, the state still gets involved in the finalizing of your financial affairs. This process is probate. According to CNN, probate is when the court ensures that your estate is wrapped up properly according to your wishes and to the law.

One of the first steps in probate is to ensure the validity of your estate plan documents. This is when someone could possibly dispute the validity of your will. That is why it is essential to make sure that you draw up your will according to the law and leave no room for anyone to object to it.

The next steps involve the court making sure your debts are paid and that the executor is ready to manage the assets and distribute them according to your wishes. At this point, there may also be issues with creditors. They might try to get their money through your estate. Again, good planning on your part can help your heirs to avoid such issues.

Finally, the court will release your estate for distribution. It is at this point that your heirs will receive the assets that you left to them. Typically, the executor will continue to manage any trusts that remain or other financial aspects of your estate plan.

Do keep in mind that certain assets do not have to go through probate. For example, anything you jointly own with another person will pass automatically to that person. Also, anything with a beneficiary will usually pass straight through to the person as well. This information is for education and is not legal advice.