Having worked hard throughout their lives, Indianapolis residents no doubt hope that their loved one’s will be able to enjoy the fruits of their labors. When the time comes for a person’s accumulated assets to be distributed to their heirs, they no doubt hope to have a say in who might get what. That only comes through estate planning, which should include the preparation of detailed will and testament. Most want to able to one’s to control their estate’s dispersal, yet few have actually taken the steps needed to ensure it. Indeed, according to poll information shared by Gallup, just over 40 percent of American adults actually have a will.
How is an estate handled when one dies with a will? State’s have established their own processes for intestate succession (“intestate” is the legal term applied to a case where one dies without a will). Indiana’s intestate succession guidelines can be found in Section 29-1-2-1 of the state’s Probate Code. Here, it states that the surviving spouse of one who dies without a will receive their entire estate if they have no surviving issue (direct descendants) or parents. If the decedent does leave behind issue (that it also the issue of the surviving spouse), then the surviving spouse’s share of the estate is reduced to 50 percent, while the remaining amount is distributed equally amongst the surviving issue. If the surviving issue of the decedent is not the issue of the surviving spouse, then the surviving spouse is entitled to 25 percent of the value of the decedent’s property (minus any liens or encumbrances against it).
In the event that a descendent leaves behind surviving parents, intestate succession guidelines mandate the surviving spouse receive 50 percent of the estate, with the remainder going to the parents.