Indiana law provides a “default” estate plan for you, if you do not have a Will at your death. This is called an “intestate” estate.
Does Indiana’s default plan match your intentions to provide for your loved ones? Here’s a guide to determine what the law would provide if you died without a Will in Indiana.
First, a look at your estate plan if you are not married:
Not Married and without children: Indiana law provides for your estate to be distributed, in equal shares, to your surviving parents and siblings. Each of your surviving parents will receive no less than one-fourth of your estate.
Who does this default “plan” exclude? Everyone else. Only your brothers and sisters (or their children, if a sibling dies before you) and your parents will receive your estate. A significant other, regardless of years together, will be excluded, as will lifelong friends or caregivers. Each sibling will be treated equally, regardless of whether your relationship with that sibling was a good one.
Not Married, with children: Your children will receive your estate, in equal shares.
Who does this default “plan” exclude? Again, everyone else. Only your children, in equal shares, will receive an interest in your estate.
In either of these situations, dying intestate as an unmarried person means that friends, other relatives, significant others, and charities, are completely excluded from your “default” estate plan.