As estate planning attorneys, we often speak to people who are trying to control damages that are caused by inaction or improper planning. In many instances, people make assumptions based on inaccurate information, and negative consequences come about later on.
Far too many people assume that there is a system in place that will take care of everything after you pass away if you do not have an estate plan in place. They go forward without any estate planning documents at all, because they think that the government will make sure that inheritances are distributed appropriately.
Some of these individuals assume that a surviving spouse would inherit everything if his or her spouse was to die without an estate plan. In fact, in many cases, a surviving spouse would not inherit all of the intestate property.
Intestate Succession Laws
Intestacy is the term that is used to describe the condition that exists after someone dies without a will or a trust. If you were to die intestate, the probate court would supervise the administration of your estate. A personal representative would be appointed, and final debts would be paid before assets were distributed to the heirs.
We practice law in the state of Indiana, and the intestate succession laws of our state would be used to determine the way your assets would be distributed.
If your spouse and your parents are still living at the time of your passing, your spouse would not inherit all of your intestate property. Your surviving spouse would inherit 75 percent of your intestate property, and your parents would inherit the rest.
Your children and your surviving spouse would divide your intestate property evenly if you pass away intestate with children from that spouse and that spouse alone.
If you had a surviving spouse and children from a previous marriage or marriages, your surviving spouse would get half of your intestate personal property. He or she would inherit 25 percent of the value of your real property as well, and your descendants would assume ownership of the rest.
Intestacy Is Not an Option
As you can see, your spouse would not automatically inherit all of your property if you die intestate. You have to take action to make sure that everyone that you love is provided for in precise accordance with your wishes.
There are many different ways to facilitate postmortem asset transfers, and the ideal way to proceed will depend upon the circumstances. Personalized attention is important, because your estate plan should be tailor-made to suit your specific needs.
If you are ready to take action, our firm would be glad to help. We offer free consultations, and you can send us a message through this link to set up an appointment: Indianapolis IN Estate Planning Attorneys.