What happens if your loved one dies without a will?

On Behalf of | Jun 24, 2024 | Wills

When a loved one passes away without a will in Indiana, the state’s intestacy laws govern the distribution of the estate. These laws outline who inherits the deceased’s property based on their familial relationships.

Learn more about what happens when a loved one dies without a will here. 

Intestate Succession

Indiana’s intestate succession laws dictate that if someone dies without a will, their assets are distributed to their closest relatives in a specific order. Here’s a breakdown of the typical distribution:

  1. Spouse and Children: The estate is divided if a spouse and children survive the deceased. The spouse receives one-half of the estate, and the children share the remaining half. If there is only one child, the spouse gets three-fourths, and the child receives one-fourth.
  2. Spouse and Parents: If the deceased has a surviving spouse but no children, the spouse inherits three-fourths of the estate, while the parents share the remaining one-fourth.
  3. Children Only: If no surviving spouse exists, the entire estate goes to the children in equal shares.
  4. Parents Only: If the deceased has no spouse or children, the parents inherit the entire estate.
  5. Siblings: If there are no surviving spouses, children, or parents, the siblings inherit the estate equally.
  6. Distant Relatives: If there are no immediate family members, more distant relatives, such as nieces, nephews, aunts, uncles, and cousins, may inherit.

Probate Process

The estate must go through probate, a legal process to settle the deceased’s affairs. The court appoints an administrator to manage the estate, settle debts and distribute assets according to intestate succession laws. This process can be lengthy and complex, especially if there are disputes among potential heirs.

Dying without a will in Indiana subjects your estate to the state’s intestate succession laws, which may not reflect your wishes. It is crucial to create a will and update it as circumstances change to ensure your assets are distributed according to your desires and minimize potential family conflicts.