What happens to property when no will exists?

On Behalf of | Mar 8, 2021 | Uncategorized

Indiana residents may want to leave a will that provides specific instructions for the distribution of their property once they die. These legal documents also designate a caretaker for any minor children under the care of the estate planner. The estate of an individual who did not prepare a will becomes part of the probate process where a court will decide who inherits possessions.

Benefits of a will

Some people still harbor the misconception that last wills and testaments only benefit people who possess extreme wealth. But many estate planners enjoy the peace of knowing that they control who will inherit their belongings. Drafting a will allows heirs to avoid spending the time and other resources necessary to access the property through the probate process.

Probate regulations

The laws that govern the probate process are strict regarding property division for deceased individuals who leave behind a spouse and children: When a spouse and biological children survive a decedent, half of the estate’s value will belong to the spouse. The other half becomes the inheritance of the children.

A spouse will inherit half of the decedent’s personal property and one-fourth of real estate left by the deceased when non-biological children share heirship. Everything else becomes the property of the children. A spouse inherits the complete estate when no biological or non-biological children exist. Likewise, property division happens among children when there is no spouse to lay claim to the estate.

The probate process becomes a bit more complicated when parents of a decedent become involved with the process. The entire estate becomes property of the state if no heirs exist.

A will prevents the possessions of an estate planner from becoming part of a prolonged probate process. The document also facilitates asset delivery to the people desired by the decedent with as little complication as possible. An estate lawyer may prove helpful when drafting this document.