Last Will and Testament
Your Last Will and Testament is the legal document in which you identify the individuals, charities or legal entities that are to receive your property and possessions after you pass on. The individuals or entities that are to receive any of your assets or property are known as your beneficiaries. Your assets and property are distributed through probate, the legal process wherein the estate of the deceased is administered. Failure to have a valid will at the time of your death results in intestacy. Everyone needs a will, even if they do not plan for their assets to pass through probate.
Intestacy is the condition of a person's estate who dies without having made a valid Will. When a person dies intestate, the property and assets in the deceased's estate are distributed according to Indiana state succession law.
At face value, many people may be okay with how Indiana state succession law distributes their assets. After all, if the person is married, their spouse will inherit everything. However, there are many caveats to this. If there are surviving children, the spouse will only inherit 50% of the assets. If it is a second or third spouse, he or she will receive even less. The law makes no distinction among the children. Even children you do not wish to inherit from you will be able to take a share.
Indiana state succession laws also make few distinctions among your assets and property when it comes to intestate property distribution. This means that on top of your investments, accounts and money being distributed to people you may not be comfortable inheriting from you, your personal property may be valued and sold off to provide for a intestate beneficiary's share.
Do not let this happen to you. A simple Last Will and Testament can prevent this situation.
Everyone Needs a Last Will and Testament
Even if you do not plan on distributing your assets through the probate process, a Last Will and Testament is an absolute necessity. While there are many alternatives to passing on your assets and property, such a Revocable Living Trust, beneficiary designations, transfer-on-death clauses and other methods, a simple Last Will and Testament can act as a safety net to ensure that any assets that are not properly titled, taken care of before your passing or accounted for elsewhere go to the right people in accordance with your wishes.
Do not leave the passing of your assets up to chance. Failure to have a Last Will and Testament may mean that your spouse, family and those who depend on you will not have the support they need after you pass.