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Best Probate Lawyers in South Bend

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Aladean M. DeRose Attorney at Law logo
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Aladean M. DeRose Attorney at Law

205 W. Jefferson Blvd. Suite 600A, South Bend, IN 46601
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  • Trusts
  • Wills
  • Estate Planning
  • Living Wills

Business Description

Aladean M. DeRose, Attorney at Law, has been helping individuals with legal needs in South Bend for over 40 years. She deals with a range of estate planning concerns, including living trusts, trust drafting, advance directives, guardianships, and conservatorship. The lawyer also assists her clients with estate tax issues and in choosing the appropriate executor. Additionally, she handles bankruptcy, civil law, and family law cases. DeRose is a certified Mediator and a former President of the St. Joseph County Bar Association. She can also speak French.

Reputation:

We scour the internet for reviews from well-known resources. Each provider is evaluated based on the quality and quantity of their reviews, their presence on multiple review sites, and their average minimum rating.
4.8
Google
4.5 / 5 (1)
Avvo
5.0 / 5 (1)

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5.0
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Brooks Legal, LLC logo
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Brooks Legal, LLC

511 East Colfax Avenue, South Bend, IN 46617
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  • Trusts
  • Wills
  • Estate Planning

Business Description

Brooks Legal, LLC's probate attorneys can handle issues that often arise during the estate process. They take on cases related to probate administration and guardianship arrangements, helping individuals and families in South Bend. The law firm's attorneys can create customized planning projects and help with drafting wills, trusts, special needs trusts, living wills, and powers of attorney agreements. Brooks Legal, LLC's other practice areas include business law and family law.

Reputation:

We scour the internet for reviews from well-known resources. Each provider is evaluated based on the quality and quantity of their reviews, their presence on multiple review sites, and their average minimum rating.
4.8

Professionalism:

We hire mystery shoppers to call our providers anonymously and evaluate them. Providers who respond quickly, answer questions thoroughly, and communicate politely score higher.
5.0
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Cole Law Firm, LLC logo
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Cole Law Firm, LLC

115 North William Street, South Bend, IN 46601
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  • Trusts
  • Wills
  • Estate Planning

Business Description

Cole Law Firm, LLC is a law firm serving individuals seeking estate planning attorneys in South Bend and surrounding communities. Led by Dianna L. Cole, the firm believes that a well-crafted estate plan is one way to protect an individual's assets, loved ones, and beneficiaries. This legal practitioner can establish guardianshisp, draft living wills, create a special needs trust, and draft the legal documents required in a comprehensive estate plan.

Reputation:

We scour the internet for reviews from well-known resources. Each provider is evaluated based on the quality and quantity of their reviews, their presence on multiple review sites, and their average minimum rating.
4.0
Google
4.5 / 5 (16)
Facebook
5.0 / 5 (1)

Professionalism:

We hire mystery shoppers to call our providers anonymously and evaluate them. Providers who respond quickly, answer questions thoroughly, and communicate politely score higher.
5.0
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Gardner & Rans P.C. Attorneys at Law logo
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Gardner & Rans P.C. Attorneys at Law

202 South Michigan Street Suite 801, South Bend, IN 46601
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  • Wills
  • Probate

Business Description

Gardner & Rans P.C. Attorneys at Law offers legal services to clients in South Bend. It assists with probate proceedings, where the assets of a deceased person are distributed. This includes settling outstanding debts and handling disputes among beneficiaries. Its attorneys also handle personal injury suits like construction accidents, dog bites, and defective products, along with helping clients obtain compensation from motor vehicle accidents. Lead counsels Martin Gardner and Kristy Rans have more than 40 years of combined legal experience.

Reputation:

We scour the internet for reviews from well-known resources. Each provider is evaluated based on the quality and quantity of their reviews, their presence on multiple review sites, and their average minimum rating.
4.7
Google
4.7 / 5 (17)
Facebook
5.0 / 5 (7)
Avvo
5.0 / 5 (5)

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Professionalism:

We hire mystery shoppers to call our providers anonymously and evaluate them. Providers who respond quickly, answer questions thoroughly, and communicate politely score higher.
5.0
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Godfrey Law Offices logo
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Godfrey Law Offices

2025 Edison Road, South Bend, IN 46637
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  • Trusts
  • Wills
  • Estate Planning
  • Living Trust
  • Estate Taxes
  • Trust Administration

Business Description

Godfrey Law Offices has a team of probate attorneys in South Bend providing a comprehensive estate plan covering all aspects of the process. The process integrates the retirement assets of its clients into its estate planning services. This protects the retirement plan assets from federal estate taxes in the future and ensures it remains within the family. Additionally, it can also protect the children of its clients from creditors and lawsuit judgments, among others.

Reputation:

We scour the internet for reviews from well-known resources. Each provider is evaluated based on the quality and quantity of their reviews, their presence on multiple review sites, and their average minimum rating.
5.0
Avvo
5.0 / 5 (13)

Professionalism:

We hire mystery shoppers to call our providers anonymously and evaluate them. Providers who respond quickly, answer questions thoroughly, and communicate politely score higher.
5.0
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Hahn Walz Attorneys at Law logo
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Hahn Walz Attorneys at Law

509 West Washington Street, South Bend, IN 46601
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  • Trusts
  • Wills
  • Estate Planning
  • Probate Litigation

Business Description

Headquartered in South Bend, Hahn Walz Attorneys at Law offers representation for issues involving probate law and estate planning. The firm provides assistance in legal procedures involving wills and trusts, estate administration, Medicaid regulations, and family asset protection. Established in 1986 as a combination of Charles W. Hahn and Wilford V. Walz's respective practices, Hahn Walz has a legal team with a combined experience that spans decades. The firm also handles civil litigation and family, bankruptcy, and business law cases.

Reputation:

We scour the internet for reviews from well-known resources. Each provider is evaluated based on the quality and quantity of their reviews, their presence on multiple review sites, and their average minimum rating.
3.8
Google
5.0 / 5 (4)

Professionalism:

We hire mystery shoppers to call our providers anonymously and evaluate them. Providers who respond quickly, answer questions thoroughly, and communicate politely score higher.
4.0
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––
Halpin Slagh, Attorneys at Law logo
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Halpin Slagh, Attorneys at Law

521 West Colfax Avenue, South Bend, IN 46601
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  • Trusts
  • Wills
  • Estate Planning
  • Living Trust

Business Description

For Halpin Slagh, Attorneys At Law, an estate plan is a legacy. Without one, the law decides what happens to a person's assets when they pass away. Knowing this, the team at Halpin Slagh, Attorneys At Law, is determined to help clients protect their hard-earned assets for future generations. The firm is passionate about providing services in estate planning, probate, and family law. Other areas of expertise include real estate law and business law.

Reputation:

We scour the internet for reviews from well-known resources. Each provider is evaluated based on the quality and quantity of their reviews, their presence on multiple review sites, and their average minimum rating.
4.3
Google
4.1 / 5 (9)
Facebook
5.0 / 5 (1)
Avvo
5.0 / 5 (1)

Professionalism:

We hire mystery shoppers to call our providers anonymously and evaluate them. Providers who respond quickly, answer questions thoroughly, and communicate politely score higher.
5.0
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Hope Law Firm logo
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Hope Law Firm

908 Lincolnway West, Osceola, IN 46561
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  • Wills
  • Estate Planning
  • Probate Litigation

Business Description

Hope Law Firm is the private practice of Rachel Hope Miller, an estate planning and probate attorney serving people in the South Bend metro area. The law firm focuses on helping individuals and families navigate through the probate process. Miller gathers the decedent's assets, determines the value of the assets, arranges the payments of debts, files estate taxes, and distributes the decedent's estates to the beneficiaries. Hope Law Firm also handles bankruptcy and family law cases.

Professionalism:

We hire mystery shoppers to call our providers anonymously and evaluate them. Providers who respond quickly, answer questions thoroughly, and communicate politely score higher.
5.0
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Jones Obenchain LLP logo
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Jones Obenchain LLP

202 South Michigan Street Suite 600, South Bend, IN 46634
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  • Trusts
  • Wills
  • Estate Planning
  • Probate Litigation

Business Description

Jones Obenchain LLP assists families and individuals in Indiana and Michigan in preparing estate plans that fit their goals. The firm's estate planning attorneys in South Bend not only draft wills, trusts, health care directives, and powers of attorney, but also counsel clients on the implications of using these estate planning instruments. They also provide advice regarding asset protection and probate management. Jones Obenchain LLP's other practice areas include family law, real estate, bankruptcy, and civil and commercial litigation.

Reputation:

We scour the internet for reviews from well-known resources. Each provider is evaluated based on the quality and quantity of their reviews, their presence on multiple review sites, and their average minimum rating.
3.8
Google
3.8 / 5 (4)

Professionalism:

We hire mystery shoppers to call our providers anonymously and evaluate them. Providers who respond quickly, answer questions thoroughly, and communicate politely score higher.
4.0
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Detail
Law Office of Christopher G. Walter, PC logo
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Law Office of Christopher G. Walter, PC

1051 E Market St, Nappanee, IN 46550
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  • Wills
  • Estate Planning
  • Trust Administration

Business Description

The Law Office of Christopher G. Walter, PC is a law firm based in South Bend. Its team of legal practitioners provides legal counsel in estate administration, advanced directives, and the creation of wills and living trusts. Clients can expect legal advice that's been tried and tested by over 85 years of experience in the field. The three attorneys at this firm also practice in other areas of law such as bankruptcy, real estate, personal injuries, and family law.

Reputation:

We scour the internet for reviews from well-known resources. Each provider is evaluated based on the quality and quantity of their reviews, their presence on multiple review sites, and their average minimum rating.
4.4
Google
4.2 / 5 (23)
Facebook
5.0 / 5 (7)

Professionalism:

We hire mystery shoppers to call our providers anonymously and evaluate them. Providers who respond quickly, answer questions thoroughly, and communicate politely score higher.
5.0
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Marcel Lebbin logo
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Marcel Lebbin

401 E Colfax Ave Ste 180 Box #2, South Bend, IN 46617
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  • Trusts
  • Wills
  • Estate Planning
  • Probate
  • Estate Administration

Business Description

Marcel Lebbin is a lawyer serving the South Bend metro. His areas of expertise include probate and estate administration, which includes assisting clients with life insurance proceedings, property appraisals, and asset searches. He also assists customers with paying bills and debts, completing the probate court paperwork, and splitting assets among heirs. His additional areas of practice include wills, trusts, and estate planning, elder law, commercial real estate, and litigation. Marcel Lebbin once defended a multi-million dollar trust fight against claims of undue influence.

Reputation:

We scour the internet for reviews from well-known resources. Each provider is evaluated based on the quality and quantity of their reviews, their presence on multiple review sites, and their average minimum rating.
4.2
Google
4.2 / 5 (52)

Professionalism:

We hire mystery shoppers to call our providers anonymously and evaluate them. Providers who respond quickly, answer questions thoroughly, and communicate politely score higher.
5.0
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Mario J. Zappia Attorney at Law logo
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Mario J. Zappia Attorney at Law

52582 Indiana 933 North, South Bend, IN 46637
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  • Wills
  • Estate Planning
  • Adult Guardianship
  • Living Wills

Business Description

Mario J. Zappia, Attorney at Law represents clients in matters involving family law and estate planning throughout South Bend and nearby regions. Zappia and his staff help clients draft documents like powers of attorneys and living wills. They also assist clients in assigning someone as their healthcare representative in case the client is incapacitated. Zappia has been practicing law for over 25 years. He serves as the treasurer of the St. Joseph County Bar Association.

Reputation:

We scour the internet for reviews from well-known resources. Each provider is evaluated based on the quality and quantity of their reviews, their presence on multiple review sites, and their average minimum rating.
4.5
Google
4.4 / 5 (28)
Facebook
4.8 / 5 (14)
Avvo
5.0 / 5 (1)

Professionalism:

We hire mystery shoppers to call our providers anonymously and evaluate them. Providers who respond quickly, answer questions thoroughly, and communicate politely score higher.
5.0
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Patrick McFadden Attorney at Law logo
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Patrick McFadden Attorney at Law

224 West Jefferson, Suite 305, South Bend, IN 46601
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  • Wills

Business Description

Patrick McFadden, Attorney at Law, provides estate planning assistance to South Bend residents. McFadden helps clients make plans for their properties and families and drafts necessary documents, such as wills and trusts. His estate services include elder rights and divorce. McFadden carries more than 38 years of legal experience, handling family law, real estate, DUI, and criminal law matters. He has been licensed to practice law in Michigan since 1982 and in Indiana since 1978.

Reputation:

We scour the internet for reviews from well-known resources. Each provider is evaluated based on the quality and quantity of their reviews, their presence on multiple review sites, and their average minimum rating.
4.3
Google
4.6 / 5 (9)

Professionalism:

We hire mystery shoppers to call our providers anonymously and evaluate them. Providers who respond quickly, answer questions thoroughly, and communicate politely score higher.
5.0
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Schwarz Law Office , PC logo
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Schwarz Law Office , PC

511 E. Colfax Ave., South Bend, IN 46617
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  • Estate Planning

Business Description

Founded by a farmer, Schwarz Law Office, PC, puts special attention toward the estate planning needs of South Bend agriculturists. John J. Schwarz II helps families form succession plans that assist with the preservation, protection, and proper turnover of their business, land, and operational assets. He also helps clients make long-term healthcare arrangements in a way that will not drain their assets. Schwarz handles agribusiness planning, boundary disputes, and crop insurance on top of these services.

Reputation:

We scour the internet for reviews from well-known resources. Each provider is evaluated based on the quality and quantity of their reviews, their presence on multiple review sites, and their average minimum rating.
5.0
Facebook
5.0 / 5 (3)

Professionalism:

We hire mystery shoppers to call our providers anonymously and evaluate them. Providers who respond quickly, answer questions thoroughly, and communicate politely score higher.
5.0
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Stipp Law logo
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Stipp Law

1717 South Bend Ave, South Bend, IN 46637
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  • Wills
  • Estate Planning

Business Description

Stipp Law, which is located in South Bend, provides counsel on a variety of legal matters. It serves individuals and families in the local metro seeking assistance on estate planning and probate matters. It also helps clients navigate the different facets of family law, including divorce petitions, adoptions, paternity rights, and guardianships. Stipp Law was formed in 2015 by Thomas Sean Stipp, a certified family law specialist and a registered domestic relations mediator.

Reputation:

We scour the internet for reviews from well-known resources. Each provider is evaluated based on the quality and quantity of their reviews, their presence on multiple review sites, and their average minimum rating.
4.3
Google
4.3 / 5 (39)
Avvo
4.0 / 5 (3)
Yelp
5.0 / 5 (1)

(+1 additional source)

Professionalism:

We hire mystery shoppers to call our providers anonymously and evaluate them. Providers who respond quickly, answer questions thoroughly, and communicate politely score higher.
4.0
Responsiveness
Friendliness
Helpfulness
Detail
Back to Providers

Frequently Asked Questions

What does a probate attorney do?

Probate attorneys are licensed professionals who represent executors and heirs after someone has died. They provide personalized legal advice, assist with tax planning, settle debts, and facilitate the distribution of assets. Probate attorneys typically represent clients during administrative proceedings overseen by probate courts, although some litigators focus on handling disputes and lawsuits related to contested estates.

What is probate court?

Probate court works with the family or beneficiaries of a deceased person to validate their last will and testament. The courts review the individual's will to identify and calculate assets, pay off remaining debts, and distribute the remaining property to beneficiaries per the deceased person's requests. Depending on state laws, property valued under a certain amount may not require probate.

How long do you have to file probate after death?

The amount of time loved ones have to file a will after a person dies varies from state to state. While California courts require probate to be filed within one year, New York has no deadline. That being said, it's advisable to file probate as quickly as possible once a person has died, as the process itself can take anywhere from a few weeks to more than a year.

Does life insurance go through probate?

Life insurance doesn't need to go through the probate courts if the deceased individual has named a beneficiary on their policy. However, life insurance policies without beneficiaries, or with beneficiaries who are either deceased themselves or cannot be contacted, go directly to the deceased individual's estate. When this happens, life insurance proceeds must go through probate court to determine how funds should be allocated.

Do household items go through probate?

While the exact rules do vary from state to state, most household items don't require probate and are automatically left to immediate families unless otherwise stated in the deceased person's will. When it comes to property, only items above a certain value or held in title are required to go through probate in most states.

Do bank accounts with beneficiaries have to go through probate?

In the event a beneficiary has been named, bank accounts are not required to go through probate and will be paid directly to the person designated by the deceased individual. However, should that individual be deceased themselves or if contact cannot be made after a certain period of time, funds will be allocated to the estate and put through the probate process.

What happens if no probate is filed?

Depending on the circumstances, probate may not be required in all cases. If a person passes on and their remaining property is jointly owned, it automatically transfers to the other owner. However, if a property is not jointly owned and no probate has been filed, the executor of the will won't be able to transfer titles or cash assets to beneficiaries. Be aware that the specific laws surrounding probate requirements vary from state to state.

What is probate real estate?

Probate real estate is the process that happens when a realtor steps in to handle the sale or transfer of a deceased person's owned home to another individual. In some cases, the house is sold as a means of liquidating assets, and proceeds from the sale are used to pay debts or are distributed to beneficiaries.

Can I probate a will or estate without an attorney?

It is possible to probate a will and close an estate without hiring an attorney. However, it requires multiple steps and an understanding of the law. The first step is to petition the court to appoint a representative for the estate. Next, the executor must notify all heirs and creditors before switching ownership from the decedent to the estate. Once all debts, taxes, and final expenses have been paid, funds can be transferred to heirs. To close an estate, the executor must submit a report showing the court that all obligations and final wishes have been satisfied. While a will and estate may seem straightforward, things can get complicated quickly if multiple heirs are involved, or if disputes or disagreements arise over distribution. A probate lawyer can help navigate these disputes effectively, and take pressure off the executor when beneficiaries aren’t getting along.

How many years can an estate remain in probate?

If the will or proposed distribution of property is contested, an estate may remain in probate for several years. The timeline depends on how long relatives have to initiate probate, how long creditors have to come forward, and how busy the courts are. In some states, such as Florida, relatives have just 10 days to initiate probate, and the entire process takes approximately six months. In other areas, such as Massachusetts, the process can last one to two years, although the majority of probate activities occur in the first nine months. The value of the estate also affects the duration of the case. For example, California and Texas have simplified procedures for smaller estates, such as those valued at $150,000 or less.

When is a will's probate an automatic process?

Probate is the legal process of validating a last will and testament to ensure that the decedent's wishes are followed. A probate judge may automatically clear wills if they're accompanied by an affidavit from the decedent, a notary, and a witness. Some assets, including financial accounts with designated beneficiaries, and funds held by certain types of trusts don't have to go through probate.

What does it mean when property is under probate?

Real estate that's under probate is typically liquidated through the court system, which is most common when someone dies without a will. Home buyers who are interested in this type of property must follow special rules regarding deposits, which are sometimes nonrefundable, and buyer's premiums. Additionally, the court must approve the purchase price.

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