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The passing of actor Chadwick Boseman on August 28, 2020 shocked the world.  Mr. Boseman was known for starring in films such as 42, Marshall, and Black Panther [1].  Shocking to estate planners, he died without a Will according to recent probate filings [2].

Passing without a Will is a surprisingly common. It occurs regardless of finances or social status.  In the State of Indiana, Ind. Code 29-1-2-1 controls that situation.  Under that statute, in the case of someone passing leaving a first spouse and one child, the child and the surviving spouse will split the net estate.  In the case of a first spouse, no children, and both parents still alive, the surviving spouse receives three-quarters of the net estate, and the parents split the remaining one-quarter.  The statute refers to the “net estate” because there are often debts, taxes, and expense that need to be paid.  Additionally, under Ind. Code 29-1-4-1, the surviving spouse can claim a $25,000.00 spousal allowance.  We deduct all of these before calculating the “net estate”.

Most spouses do not expect or desire this.  The fulfillment of the testator’s goals in a predictable way with minimal stress and expense is the heart of a good estate plan.  In the modern world, this often involves beneficiary designations, dealing with real estate and vehicles and where possible, avoiding the time, expense, and publicity of probate altogether.  A complete estate plan is the best means to that end.

If you are in need of legal advice regarding planning, long-term care, or Medicaid, please contact us at (219)-230-3600 or via email at support@ccsklaw.com.  If you would like to schedule an appointment, please click the button below.


[1] https://www.imdb.com/name/nm1569276/?ref_=fn_al_nm_1

[2] https://www.usatoday.com/story/entertainment/celebrities/2020/10/16/chadwick-boseman-died-no-will-wife-seeks-administer-estate/3686177001/