The difference between supervised and unsupervised estates

Estate Planning column by Christopher Yugo
2004-07-12T00:00:00Z The difference between supervised and unsupervised estates nwitimes.com
July 12, 2004 12:00 am

Q: My will contains a provision indicating that the estate should be unsupervised. What is an unsupervised estate and how is it different from a supervised estate?

A: There essentially are two types of probate estates in Indiana, supervised and unsupervised. The distinction between a supervised and unsupervised estate is exactly what the names suggest. A supervised estate is under the supervision of the court while the court does not actively supervise an unsupervised estate.

Think of it this way, before a personal representative in a supervised estate can take certain actions, he or she must petition the court. For example, before the personal representative can sell real or personal property, he must petition the court and obtain an order authorizing the sale. The court requires all of the parties to be notified and they are allowed an opportunity to be heard. If everything is OK, the court will allow the property to be sold.

This sort of court authorization isn't only limited to property sales. In a supervised estate, the court also must authorize the personal representative to do things like making partial distributions to the heirs or awarding fees to the attorney or personal representative. Essentially, the court must approve major decisions made by the personal representative.

On the other hand the court is not nearly as involved in an unsupervised estate. In an unsupervised estate, the court essentially appoints a personal representative and instructs him to administer the estate and report back when the administration is completed. The only orders the court normally issues in an unsupervised estate are those that appoint the personal representative, determine the inheritance tax due and closing the estate.

Courts tend to resist issuing orders in unsupervised estates. If the court finds itself being petitioned in an unsupervised estate, it could convert the estate to a supervised estate.

Is an unsupervised estate better than a supervised estate? Both have important benefits. Unsupervised estates tend to be cheaper to administer. The attorney spends less time preparing pleadings and going to court. Also, unsupervised estates can sometimes move faster than supervised ones since the necessity of asking the court for permission to do important tasks is relieved.

If unsupervised estates are cheaper and faster than supervised estates, why use a supervised estate? The answer is that in a lot of estates, the parties don't always get along or agree on all of the issues. A supervised estate allows a venue for the parties to be heard.

If unsupervised estates are cheaper and faster than supervised estates, why use a supervised estate? The answer is that in a lot of estates, the parties don't always get along or agree on all of the issues. A supervised estate allows a venue for the parties to be heard.

Opinions expressed solely are those of the writer. Christopher W. Yugo is a member of the Indiana Bar and a vice president and trust officer for Centier Bank's Trust Department. Address questions to Yugo in care of The Times, 601 W. 45th Ave., Munster, IN 46321

Copyright 2014 nwitimes.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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