Do I really need a will?

Do I really need a will?

How a person’s assets are divided when they pass away is a mystery to most everyone. Without a will in place, asset division upon death is determined by the laws of the state where that person resided.  A study done in 2014 found that 60% of Americans do not have a will in place. The assumption people typically make is, when a spouse dies, all their property goes to the surviving spouse. In Indiana, however, that is not necessarily the case. Indiana Code 29-1-2-1 provides a roadmap on how assets are divided when a person passes away. For example, if a spouse passes away, and there are children born of the marriage, 50% of that spouse’s assets goes to the surviving spouse, and the other 50% is divided between the children. In a situation where a spouse passes away without children, the surviving spouse receives 75% of the marital estate, and the other 25% is transferred to the deceased spouse’s parents. Other situations which include children from second marriages, adopted children, or family who have previously passed away tend to complicate the situation, and make it more likely that the assets of the deceased are not divided according to their wishes.

If you are hesitant about allowing your entire estate to pass according to Indiana Intestate laws, it is important to evaluate your situation with an attorney. Estate planning will enable you to choose how your property is divided upon your death among other things. Parents of children may include in their will who they would like to take care of their children if both parents pass away. Individuals may also designate a person to make medical decisions in the event they are unable to do so on their own.  

There are many tools a licensed attorney can use to assist you in end of life planning. The Law Offices of Steven K. Deig has a staff of experienced attorneys who are capable of advising you according to your wishes. If you have questions you would like answered, feel free to set up an appointment to meet with one of our attorneys. Contact us by calling 812-477-5577 or email contactus@deiglaw.com

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