The assets owned by Indiana residents who die without a will are allocated to the deceased person’s kin through probate court. Since there is no will instructing the executor of whom the deceased person wanted as their beneficiaries, the probate court will utilize the state’s intestate succession laws to determine who gets what. Depending on the state that the deceased person lived in, their next of kin could include spouses, children, grandchildren, parents, siblings, aunts and uncles.
The probate process
When a person with debts or assets to their name dies without a will, their affairs will need to be settled through probate court. During the probate process, the deceased person’s assets are used to pay off their debts, final bills and taxes. The remaining assets will then be dispersed to their next of kin. The person chosen to handle the probate process is typically the next of kin. The court will refer to this person as an administrator.
Filing for probate
Typically, a close family member will initiate the probate process. This is done by filing a petition for probate with the state’s court system where the deceased person lived. Most states now offer online probate filing to make the process much easier for family members of deceased individuals.
Once a hearing date is set, the deceased person’s next of kin should attend. During this hearing, the judge will designate an estate administrator and inform them of their responsibilities. After all of the deceased person’s affairs are handled by the administrator, there will be a second probate hearing. At this second hearing, the judge simply ensures that all accounts were handled and closes out the estate.
When a person dies without a will, their next of kin will need to go through the probate process. It may be very helpful to have the assistance of a probate attorney so that the next of kin understands what’s involved in this process after a loved one passes on.