Dying Without a Will in Indiana

Laws of Intestacy Succession in Indiana

Governor Oliver Morton Monument at Indiana State Capitol Building, Indianapolis, Marion County, Indiana, USA
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When an Indiana resident dies without a Last Will and Testament, the intestacy succession laws found in the Indiana Probate Code will dictate who inherits the deceased person's probate estate. Below is a summary of the Indiana intestacy laws in various situations.

Deceased Person is Survived by a Spouse and/or Descendants and/or Parents

Here is what will happen under the Indiana intestacy laws if the deceased person is survived by a spouse and/or descendants (children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, etc.) and/or parents:

  • Survived by a spouse and children all of whom are children of the spouse - In this case, the surviving spouse will inherit one-half (1/2) of the deceased spouse's entire probate estate, and the deceased spouse's children will inherit the other one-half (1/2), per stirpes.
  • Survived by a spouse and one or more children who are not descendants of the spouse - In this case the surviving spouse will inherit one-half (1/2) of the deceased spouse's intestate personal property and one-fourth (1/4) of the value of the deceased spouse's real estate (excluding liens) and the remainder will go to the deceased spouse's children, per stirpes.
  • Survived by a spouse and no descendants or parents - In this case, the surviving spouse will inherit the deceased spouse's entire probate estate.
  • Survived by a spouse and parent or parents and no descendants - In this case, the surviving spouse will inherit three-fourths (3/4) of the deceased spouse's probate estate and the other one-fourth (1/4) will go equally to the parents or all to the only surviving parent.
  • Survived by descendants and no spouse - In this case, the deceased person's descendants will inherit the entire probate estate, per stirpes.
  • Survived by a parent or parents and no spouse or descendants - In this case, the deceased person's parents will inherit the probate estate in equal shares if both are living or the entire probate estate will go to the only surviving parent.

    Deceased Person is Not Survived by a Spouse, Descendants, or Parents

    Here is what will happen under the Indiana intestacy laws if the deceased person is not survived by a spouse, any descendants (children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, etc.) or their parents:

    • Survived by brothers and/or sisters or descendants of deceased brothers and/or sisters - In this case, the deceased person's brothers and/or sisters and the descendants of deceased brothers and/or sisters (nieces and nephews) will inherit the entire of the probate estate, per stirpes.
    • Not survived by any family members - In the unlikely circumstance that the deceased person is not survived by any family members as described above, then the entire probate estate will escheat to the State of Indiana.

    What Will You Inherit From an Indiana Intestate Estate?

    What will you inherit if your relative dies without leaving a will and the relative was a resident of Indiana or owned real estate located in Indiana?  Even if you determine based on the information presented above that you are entitled to an intestate share of your relative's estate, you may not inherit anything. Why? Because your relative may have left the only non-probate property or the debt your relative owed at the time of death may exceed the value of the probate estate which will make the estate insolvent.

    If you're not sure about your legal rights as an intestate heir in Indiana, then consult with an Indiana probate attorney to be sure.

    NOTE: State laws change frequently and the following information may not reflect recent changes in the laws. For current tax or legal advice, please consult with an accountant or an attorney since the information contained in this article is not tax or legal advice and is not a substitute for tax or legal advice.