Everyone should have an estate plan in place to prevent intestacy. This is the condition that results if you do not express your wishes regarding the way that you want your assets distributed after you die.
If you were to pass away without a will or any other estate planning documents expressing your final wishes, the probate court would be forced to sort things out. The court would ultimately order the distribution of the assets using intestate succession laws.
Our firm practices in the state of Indiana, so we will pass along the rules for our state. The basic framework is pretty consistent state-by-state, but there are some slight differences when you look at the intestate succession laws of each state.
Your parents would inherit all of your intestate property if you had no descendents and no spouse. If you have a spouse and descendents from that surviving spouse, your spouse would inherit half of your intestate property, and your children would divide the other half.
Under circumstances where you had no descendents, a living parent or parents, and a surviving spouse, your surviving spouse would not inherit everything in the state of Indiana. Your surviving spouse would inherit three-fourths of your intestate property, and your parent or parents would inherit the rest.
Other scenarios exist, but we cannot cover them all in this post. You can look at the entire body of Indiana intestate succession laws by visiting this page: Indiana Code – Intestate Succession.
We would like to point out the fact that there are cases when people pass away without having any blood relatives still living. Under these circumstances, after a prescribed period of time, the state can absorb the intestate property under escheat laws.
When you read about these intestate succession laws you probably recognize the fact that they are not going to be consistent with the wishes of many.
If you don’t have any children and you are married, would you necessarily want to leave one fourth of your assets to your parents? They may well be in a better position than your surviving spouse.
Do you want your children to divide half of your intestate estate right away, even if they are barely adults?
There is no reason to die intestate. People sometimes fail to put a plan in place because they don’t know where to begin. This may be understandable, but a simple solution exists.
Our firm offers free consultations to people here in the greater Indianapolis area. If you are ready to take action, contact us to schedule an appointment.
We will gain an understanding of your wishes, evaluate your unique personal circumstances, and make the appropriate recommendations. You can emerge from the interaction with a custom crafted estate plan that perfectly suit your needs.
Mr. Kraft assists clients primarily in the areas of estate planning and administration, Medicaid planning, federal and state taxation, real estate and corporate law, bringing the added perspective of an accounting background to his work.