Indiana residents who die without a will may anticipate that their property passes to their heirs through the probate court. Under Indiana’s probate code, the court may transfer ownership of assets to a surviving spouse. Children, adopted children or grandchildren may also receive an inheritance.
If at the time of your death, your surviving spouse has abandoned you, he or she may not receive your assets from the probate court. When a spouse does not have a right to your properties, your living children or parents may inherit them instead. Without a surviving spouse, child or parent, the court attempts to locate a deceased’s closest living relative.
When may my spouse receive all my assets?
A surviving spouse may receive a decedent’s entire estate when the couple does not have children. If you die without children or a living parent, the probate court’s process may include transferring the titles of your assets to your spouse.
SmartAsset.com reports that heirs may avoid probate when added as beneficiaries to certain accounts. You may, for example, add your spouse as a beneficiary to life insurance policies. You could also add your spouse to bank accounts or individual retirement accounts that offer pay-on-death benefits. You may, in addition, add your spouse as a joint tenant to real estate.
How may my children inherit my properties?
Without leaving a will, your spouse may inherit half of your estate. The other half goes to your children. The court may divide half of your estate between all your children if you have more than one child. The court may also include your grandchildren from a deceased adult child when dividing your assets.
Indiana’s intestate inheritance laws generally pass the deceased’s property to a surviving spouse and children. By creating a will, however, you may list your assets and leave them to whoever you wish.