Various probate and trust matters

The House Judiciary Committee heard SB 355 concerning various probate and trust matters sponsored by Rep. Koch.  Author Sen. Steele introduced an amendment concerning attorneys in fact which was adopted by consent.  As amended, the bill provides that a trust may incorporate by reference a document that exists at the time the trust is executed. The bill also specifies that funeral expenses and expenses of a tombstone are expenses of administration. It expands the definition of “person” under the probate code to include governmental entities and other legal entities.

The bill provides that a non-probate transfer to a testamentary trust: (1) is valid upon the will being admitted to probate; and (2) is not subject to claims against the probate estate. It allows a governmental entity or business entity (in addition to an individual) to be a transfer on death beneficiary of an automobile or a watercraft. The bill also allows a governmental entity or business entity (in addition to an individual) to be appointed a health care representative and amends the order of priority of persons who may control the disposition of a decedent’s body. The bill provides that a power of attorney may delegate the authority of a parent or guardian with respect to the health care of a minor or protected person.  It adds that an attorney in fact is entitled to judicial review and settlement of an account. Lastly, the bill provides that absent fraud, misrepresentation, inadequate disclosure, or failure to provide proper notice, an attorney in fact is discharged from all liability as to the transactions in the accounting if proper notice is provided of the court’s approval of the accounting.

An attorney with the Probate Trust and Real Property Section of the Indiana State Bar Association testified in support of the bill. The amended bill passed 9-0.  

Read the bill at http://iga.in.gov/legislative/2015/bills/senate/355.