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Dying Without a Will in Indiana

What Happens if a Loved One Dies Without a Will? 

When a person passes away with proper estate planning documents, this notifies the court or a personal representative of their responsibility to administer the estate. However, questions can be raised when a person passes away without a last will and testament in Indiana. This initiates the formal intestacy probate in Indiana.

How Does Probate Work?

Every state has similar roles that control the functioning of this process. Indiana code title 29-1-2-1 outlines the dispersal of assets inside a deceased person's probate estate. Probate is the process through which beneficiaries must prove that the division of property is genuine and fair to the court. Any items that the decedent owned at the time of their death as well as debts they owed will be included in Indiana probate. The debt owed by the deceased person will be deducted from the value of the possessions.

Probate can vary in cost based on the value of the overall estate, and the complexity of issues inside. The entire process can take as long as 2 years to complete if there are conflicts or other issues.

Who Gets Property When There's No Will?

How property passes on when a person passes away without a will in Indiana depends on Indiana's intestacy laws and whether or not the deceased has been survived. If the deceased person has a surviving spouse, descendants, or parents, specific laws will apply. If the person is survived by a spouse or biological children, the surviving spouse is eligible to receive one half of the deceased person's complete probate estate.

Any children associated with the deceased spouse will inherit the other half. If non-biological children have survived as well as a spouse, the surviving spouse is eligible to receive one half of the personal property and one quarter of real estate for the deceased spouse. The remaining associated with an estate with no will in Indiana goes to deceased spouse's children.

If the deceased is survived by parents, a parent, no children, a parent and a spouse, the surviving spouse is eligible to receive three-quarters of the estate qualifying for probate and the remaining one-quarter goes to the only surviving parent or equally to the parent. If the party is survived by no spouse or children and only by parents, the surviving parents will receive the probate estate in shares split equally or the entire estate will go to the only surviving parent. In the event that there are no surviving descendants, spouse or parents, any descendants will have first claim to any assets inside the estate.

The deceased person's brothers, sisters or descendants of the deceased brothers and sisters, also known as nieces and nephews, will be eligible to receive the total probate estate. If there are no family members that are alive at the time that the person passes away, the probate estate will go the state of Indiana. Setting up a consultation with an Indiana estate planning probate or probate lawyer, can be beneficial for anyone who is thinking about the future.         

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