What Happens if I Die Without a Will in Indiana or Kentucky? The Real Cost of Dying Without a Will
People frequently postpone having a will prepared. In many cases, they believe that they will have plenty of time to prepare a will later because they will live well into old age. In other cases, people believe that a will is not needed because their loved ones will divide their property according to their wishes.
When a person dies without a will, they are said to die “intestate.” Unfortunately, when a person dies intestate, unfavorable consequences can result. These consequences can include:
- Assets not being distributed as desired by the decedent.
If a person dies without a will in Indiana or Kentucky, assets must be distributed according to state intestate distribution statutes. These statutes do not take into account any personal wishes expressed by the decedent prior to death.
As a result, even if the decedent clearly expressed a desire to give certain assets to a loved one, these wishes will not be given any legal effect in the distribution process. Loved ones who may have been promised certain assets may get nothing, while family members whom the decedent wished to disinherit may be given significant assets.
- Fighting over family heirlooms.
There are no provisions in Indiana law that allow courts to award specific items, such as heirlooms and articles of great sentimental, to certain family members when a person dies intestate. Instead, it is the job of the personal representative to distribute these assets in accordance with state intestate distribution laws.
In order to accomplish this task, the personal representative may hold an estate sale (often through an auction process) and then divide the proceeds as required by statute. Family members may be required to out-bid other family members and strangers in order to obtain family heirlooms.
- Higher Costs of Estate Administration
Often estate auction companies and other resources will be required in the absence of a will, which ultimately will result in fewer assets available to heirs.
- Potential Litigation
When a person dies intestate, in some cases (such as when significant assets are involved) potential beneficiaries may challenge the actions of the personal representative in court. Typically, the legal fees of the personal representative will be paid out of the estate, which additionally means that there will be less money to be distributed to beneficiaries. The personal representative may also be placed in a difficult position, especially if it is other family members who are initiating a lawsuit.
We Can Help You Avoid These Issues
We know that you want to leave as much of your assets as possible to loved ones or organizations that you care about. We can draft a will that will specifically transfer your assets to beneficiaries exactly as you wish, which will minimize the chance of any of the problems mentioned above.
Please Call Us Today.