Probate cases are handled in the Civil Division of the Allen Superior Court by Judge Stanley A. Levine and Magistrate Phillip E. Houk. Judge Levine's chambers are located in Allen County Courthouse Room 316. Magistrate Houk's chambers are located in Courthouse Room 108.
Most hearings conducted in probate matters take place in Courthouse Rooms 106 and 110.
The Probate Division not only supervises the administration of estates, trusts and guardianships, but also handles probate litigation involving trusts, guardianships and estates, including will contests.
Probate cases can basically be broken down into 3 case types:
Estates - These cases involve the transfers of property that occur after a person dies. Many forms of property, such as joint bank accounts, and real estate jointly owned transfer without the need for Court assistance. Forms of property which were held in the name of a deceased person only may require the assistance of the Court to transfer. If the value of estate property is less than $5O,OOO, Indiana law provides a procedure for administration of the assets without court assistance.
Trusts - A trust is one of several legal devices by which one person is enabled to manage some property for the benefit of another person. Many trusts are created in conjunction with a will as an element of estate planning. Courts may be asked to settle questions over interpretation of trust provisions or to reform provisions that become obsolete.
Guardianships - A guardianship is a legal relationship created by the Court between a person who is a minor or is found ta be incapacitated and someone who the Court finds ta be qualified and willing to care for and make personal and financial decisions for that person. Depending upon the nature of the incapacity, a guardian's authority can be very limited or quite broad.