Answer: Suprisingly often. As an Indiana attorney specializing in Elder Law, it continually amazes me how many times new clients wait until a life-threatening illness or death of a spouse occurs before a will is addressed. Sometimes, as in the case of an accident, the consequences for the spouse and family are tremendously complicated and may take a long time to unravel.
So what happens if you die without a will? It is often said, “If you fail to write a will, the State writes one for you.” Indiana’s “intestate succession” law sends your estate through the probate process which divides your assets between your spouse and your children, if you are survived by both. The division created by state law is seldom what people want for their particular family.
What if you have a will from another state, but now reside in Indiana? Valid wills created in other states are valid in Indiana. However, often the move to another state will result in the provisions of the prior will being out-of-date or cumbersome to administer in the new location.
The bottom line? Don’t wait. Sit down with an attorney soon and settle this important piece of business. You’ll rest a little easier knowing your “affairs are in order” and you have your wishes in writing.