Estate planning is a way you could use to protect your interests and that of your loved ones before and after your death. When you fail to organize your affairs accordingly, your beneficiaries will go through a time-consuming and expensive process in Indiana known as probate. For instance, here are some of your assets that could be subject to probate without proper planning.
Assets subject to probate
Property held jointly with another person: In Indiana, if an asset is titled in two or more different names, the surviving owner(s) won’t access it until the probate process is complete. Such properties include joint bank accounts, vehicles, real estate, etc. Additionally, if that asset wasn’t held jointly but mentioned in a will, it will still go through probate to be distributed according to your wishes.
Assets that don’t have a beneficiary designation: Some properties, such as retirement accounts and life insurance policies, have a beneficiary designation. This is a person who will receive the asset when you die. In most cases, these assets will not go through probate because they are transferred directly to the designee upon your death. However, if you have an account or a policy but do not name a beneficiary, it will go through probate.
Assets that are not subject to Probate in Indiana
Trusts: If you have assets in a trust, they will not go through probate. This is because when you set up a revocable or irrevocable trust, you are basically transferring the ownership of your assets to another person—the trustee. So, upon your death, the court won’t see it as your property but rather as the trustees.
Transfer on Death accounts: Transfer on Death (TOD) accounts are a type of account that allows you to designate a beneficiary. They include bank accounts, brokerage accounts, and real estate. When you die, the funds or properties in that account will go directly to the person you named as the beneficiary.
It’s advisable to work on your estate plans early enough to help your loved ones avoid probate to make their lives easier. Besides, the probate process can cause a rift in your family if any conflict arises.