Having a last will and testament is essential when you reside in Indiana if you have assets you’d like to distribute upon your death. It communicates your precise wishes and determines how your assets should be divided when you pass away. Without this legal document, the transfer of your property will be subject to intestate succession laws, which may handle the division differently than you prefer.
What is a last will and testament?
Using a last will and testament allows you to legally explain how your assets and property will be divided. It names an executor who helps handle your final affairs through the probate process. This process is used to pass on inherited assets to the beneficiaries you choose. These assets can include the following:
- Real estate
- Personal property such as valuables
- Investment or retirement accounts that are missing transfer on death instructions or beneficiaries
- Cash and cash accounts that don’t allow transfer on death designation
- Assets held as tenants in common
If you have any minor children, your last will and testament can also include the names of guardians you’d like to take care of them. Typically, this aspect will be discussed with the individuals you choose before naming them in this legal document to ensure they agree with this plan.
How are non-probate assets handled?
Some assets aren’t subject to the probate process. Setting up an estate plan can help you determine how they should be divided. They can usually be assumed by your named beneficiaries sooner and include the following:
- Insurance policy proceeds
- Retirement accounts such as 401(k)s or IRAs with named beneficiaries
- Investment or cash accounts with transfer on death instructions in place
- Assets with joint ownership with right of survivorship
Creating a last will and testament is an excellent move to ensure your assets pass on to specific beneficiaries.