A commonly asked question in the field of estate planning involves intestacy. What happens to your financial resources if you die without having executed a last Will or any other type of estate planning documents that direct the transfer of your assets?
The answer is that the administration of your estate will be supervised by the probate court. There are intestacy rules of succession, and these will be utilized to determine who assumes ownership of your assets. Your closest legal relatives are going to be first in line.
If you are an individual who is in a long-term committed relationship you must take the implications of intestacy seriously. Unmarried couples have no binding relationship in the eyes of the law so you must state your wishes in writing if you want to leave an inheritance to your partner.
Since gay couples cannot get legally married in most states, including the state of Indiana, this is relevant to same-sex individuals who are in long-term committed relationships. But at the same time, there are many heterosexual people who choose to live together without being married for various reasons.
You may want to retain your eligibility for certain pension benefits or a Social Security benefit and choose not get married for financial reasons.
Whether you are in a relationship as an unmarried individual or not you should certainly avoid intestacy. However, it is especially important for people who want to provide for loved ones who would not be in line for inheritances via the intestacy rules of succession.