Benjamin T. Ballou | Hodges & Davis Law Firm Northwest Indiana

The Indiana legislature was quite busy this past session regarding probate and trust law when it passed HEA 1205, HEA 1208, SEA 66, SEA 67 and SEA 193.  This update will focus on SEA 193, which became effective July 1, 2022. 

To the surprise of many, the Indiana legislature eliminated Indiana’s Probate Code Study Commission in 2014.  In 2019, the legislature re-established the Commission pursuant to I.C. § 2-5-16.1-1 et seq.  The Commission is seen as a conduit and liaison for the Probate, Trust and Real Property Section of the Indiana State Bar Association and the legislature.  The Commission is intricately involved in reviewing proposals, drafting legislation and making recommendations to the legislature.  Pursuant to I.C. § 2-5-16.1-3, the Commission consists of the following members:

(1) Nine (9) members appointed by the governor that meet the following requirements:

(A) Each Indiana congressional district must be represented by at least one (1) member appointed under this subdivision who is a resident of that congressional district.

(B) One (1) member must work in the trust department of a bank, trust company, savings institution, or credit union chartered and supervised under IC 28 or federal law.

(C) One (1) member must be an attorney licensed in Indiana who primarily practices in the area of creditors’ rights.

(D) One (1) member must be an attorney licensed in Indiana who practices in the area of estate planning.

(E) One (1) member must be an attorney licensed in Indiana who practices in the area of guardianships.

(F) One (1) member must be an attorney licensed in Indiana who practices in the area of trusts.

(G) One (1) member must be an attorney licensed in Indiana who practices in the area of probate of estates.

(H) One (1) member must be an attorney licensed in Indiana who practices in the area of probate litigation.

(I) One (1) member must be an Indiana trial court judge, full-time magistrate, or full-time commissioner whose jurisdiction includes probate.

(J) One (1) member must be an active or retired faculty member of an Indiana institution of higher learning who specializes in the field of estate planning and probate.

(2) Three (3) members appointed by the president pro tempore of the senate from among the members of the senate, not more than two (2) of whom may be affiliated with the same political party.

(3) Three (3) members appointed by the speaker of the house of representatives from among the members of the house of representatives, not more than two (2) of whom may be affiliated with the same political party.

(4) The chief justice of the supreme court or a designee of the chief justice, “who shall serve as a nonvoting member.”

SEA 193 added language to subsection (4) stating that the chief justice or a designee of the chief justice is now a nonvoting member of the Commission.

SEA 193 also revised I.C. § 2-5-16.1-6(b) which sets forth the requirements for the Commission to take final action.  Under the new legislation, “at least eight (8) voting members of the commission are required for the commission to take final action.”

The Commission plays a vital role in the legislative process in the areas of probate, trust and real property matters.  The re-establishment of the Commission by the legislature in 2019 ensures that proposed legislation has been vetted and reviewed prior to reaching the floor of the Indiana House and Senate for review, deliberation and enactment.  

 

Please note that this post is only a brief summary of SEA 193 and does not constitute legal advice nor does it establish an attorney/client relationship.  Should you have specific questions regarding the above, please contact Benjamin T. Ballou at Hodges and Davis, P.C.      

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