Law restores will challenges as separate actions

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An unintended change in law that temporarily required will challenges to be filed within the probate case was reversed under a bill that took effect July 1 and tweaked several provisions of Indiana’s Probate Code.

Rep. Tom Washburne, R-Evansville, said a prior change in law that required will contests to be filed in the same probate action resulted from a mistaken interpretation of what probate and estate lawyers sought. His House Enrolled Act 1407 restored the prior practice of will challenges filed as a separate action.

HEA 1407 cleared the General Assembly without a vote against it, cleaning up or correcting several probate and estate issues that Washburne said were noncontroversial. The key changes include:

• An amendment to Indiana Code 29-3-1-3.5, requiring guardians to have due regard for any request made for a minor by the minor’s parent, de facto guardian, or power of attorney.

• Amendments to I.C. 29-3-5-5, allowing parents, de facto custodians of a minor, or a person nominated by will of a deceased parent, de facto custodian, or their power of attorney to be considered for appointment as a guardian.

• A new section under the trusts title, I.C. 30-4-3-7.5, permits otherwise prohibited transactions with the written consent of all qualified beneficiaries, or by court order after a notification to all beneficiaries and a hearing.

• An amendment to I.C. 30-4-5-12 establishing the presumption of receipt of a statement or accounting by a beneficiary if the trustee has procedures requiring mailing or emailing, if the beneficiary has agreed to receive the statement or accounting by mail or email.

• Clerks may not collect a fee for the filing of a closing statement for an estate described in I.C. 29-1-8-4.•

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