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IN THE SECTION

What is intestate succession?

| Apr 20, 2018 | estate administration & probate |

Writing a will might currently be the furthest thing from your mind. You might have confidence that your family in Lawrenceburg is closely knit enough to disperse your assets without there being any contention. Why, then, risk hurting someone’s feelings by creating a will? The main reason is because of what will potentially happen if you die intestate. 

Dying intestate simply means that you died without a will. Authority over how your estate is distributed, however, does not automatically go to your family. Rather, the state determines how assets are dispersed through a process known as “intestate succession.” Your surviving spouse is the most immediate beneficiary of this law. Per Section 29-1-2-1 of Indiana’s Probate Code, he or she is entitled to the following portion of your intestate estate: 

  • 50 percent if you are survived by any other issue (direct descendants)
  • 75 percent if you have no surviving issue, but your parents are still alive
  • 100 percent if you have no surviving issue or parents

The unaccounted-for portions of your estate would be distributed equally between your surviving issue or parents. If your surviving issue are not also the issue of your surviving spouse, his or her stake in the intestate estate is reduced to 25 percent of the fair market value of your current real property, minus any liens or encumbrances against such property. 

If your spouse dies before you, then your intestate estate would pass to your issue, then to your parents, your siblings, your grandparents, your aunts and uncles, and finally to your next surviving kin. 

The point to be made here is that even if you plan for much of your estate to pass to the aforementioned parties anyway, intestate succession guidelines do not determine specifically who gets ownership of what. Having a will eliminates all confusion regarding your final wishes.