Planning for the Future
Planning for the Future

Who Are Your Heirs If You Leave No Will?

Proper planning is required to be sure your dreams for the future become reality for your loved ones.

The following shows the basis for the division and distribution of property, as set forth in the Indiana Probate Code, in all cases in which residents of Indiana or persons owning real estate in Indiana die without leaving a will.

The persons who would receive your property, after debts, expenses and family allotments are paid, and their respective shares in your property, if you leave no will, are fixed by the provisions of the Probate Code, and are shown in the particular section below which depicts your present family status.

Note: A surviving spouse of a decedent who was domiciled in Indiana at death is entitled from the estate to an allowance of $25,000.00 in personal property. If only dependant children of the decedent survive, they are entitled to the $25,000.00 allowance divided equally. If personal property is insufficient, real estate may be used to make up the difference to the extent necessary. This allowance is not chargeable against the distributive shares of either surviving wife or husband or children.

Married man or woman with children and/or descendants of children

  • Surviving spouse: One-half.
  • Children or their descendants: One-half divided equally.

If this is a childless second husband or wife, and child or descendant survives from decedent’s previous marriage, surviving spouse’s share in real estate is one-third for life only. Grandchildren take only their deceased parent’s share. However, if no child survives, grandchildren take equally.

Married man or woman without child, children or descendants, survived by parent or parents

  • Surviving spouse: Three-fourths.
  • Parents: One-fourth divided equally or to survivor.
  • If no parent survives, all to wife or husband.

Widow or widower with child, children or descendants

  • All to child or children and descendants. Grandchildren take on their deceased parent’s share. However, if no child survives, grandchildren take equally.

Unmarried man, woman, widow or widower without child, children or descendants

  • If parents, brothers or sisters survive:
    • All to parent or parents, brothers and sisters and their descendants equally.
    • The share of each parent shall not be less than one-fourth. Descendants of brothers and sisters take only their deceased parent’s share.
    • If no parents, brother or sisters survive:
      • All to nieces and nephews, and their descendants equally. Descendants of deceased nieces or nephews take only their deceased parent’s share.
    • If no parents, brothers, sisters, nieces or nephews or their descendants survive:
      • All to surviving grandparents equally or, if none, then to aunts and uncles and their descendants equally.
      • Descendants of deceased aunts and uncles take only their deceased parent’s share.

If none of the above survive you:  All to the State of Indiana

Why Should You Have a Will?

  • To direct who will get your property.
    If you do not have a will, your property will be distributed by law as shown above. The law is necessarily inflexible, and cannot take into account your wishes or your family’s needs. And, while joint ownership may have advantages when properly used, it is never a substitute for a will.
  • To choose who will be your executor to settle your estate.
    Otherwise, your estate will be handled by a court-appointed administrator.
  • To provide financial management for your beneficiaries through a trust.
    You can protect the interests of minors and safeguard the future of adult beneficiaries by leaving their share in trust. The beneficiaries are protected against loss due to carelessness or unwise spending by having their inheritance administered for their benefit by an experienced trustee, such as our bank.
  • To avoid unnecessary estate taxes.
    With proper planning, the impact of estate taxes can often be reduced.