my father in law passed away July 30th 2008, leaving a 20 acre farm in Crawford County, IN. He had debt stemming from medical bills, and had filed bankruptcy. He was making payments on the debt through a bankruptcy lawyer. When he died, he left no will, and my husband and brother in law hired an attorney to get the estate into their names. It has been , it seems to me, too long, the estate should have been settled. I think their lawyer isn't doing his job, and I believe he is actually lying to them. I want to know if these things are true.: You have to hire an attorney from the county the property is located in. ...The judge has to wait a certain amount of time before he signs the estate over, to make sure no debtors come after it......and he said that the court had lost all of the paperwork and now he has to start from scratch a refile the entire thing. .. Any feedback will be much appreciated. Even if I'm wrong, at least I'll be able to relax about it. :) Thanks.
2 Answers from Attorneys
"You have to hire an attorney from the county the property is located in"-No
"The judge has to wait a certain amount of time before he signs the estate over, to make sure no debtors come after it"-Yes.
"The court had lost all of the paperwork and now he has to start from scratch and refile the entire thing." - It is always possible that a file is lost, but it does not require a complete "do-over", just the recreation of the file.
Hope that helps.
A lawyer admitted to practice in Indiana can practice in any county.
An estate cannot be closed until at least three months after the Notice of Administration has been filed, so that creditors have a chance to file claims. No claim can be filed later than nine months after the death of a person. The estate procedure agenda goes like this, more or less: pay filing fees, open the estate and probate the will (if there is a will); publish notice of administration and notify known creditors ASAP. Within 60 days after opening, prepare an inventory to file with the court or send to heirs describing probate assets. Prepare Indiana inheritance and/or federal estate tax returns, and pay applicable taxes. Pay claims that have been filed and admitted. If claims exceed assets, then claims are paid pro-rata. After three months past the publication of the notice of administration, prepare final report, describe administration of estate, describe proposed distribution to heirs, and set the matter for hearing, about a month hence, for order. Whether or not the court lost the paper work or the dogs from the municipal dog pound broke out and ate it all, there should an electronic record of the filing and an electronic record of the publication of notice of administration or copies of that publication in the local news paper. You can go to the county clerk's office and ask about it. Hope it is very relaxing for you. Good luck.