As the saying goes, there are only two things in life that are certain: death and taxes.  While no one can avoid death, most people wish to avoid, as much as possible, the taxes and expenses that may result from their death.

As of January 1, 2013, the Indiana legislature repealed the state’s inheritance tax.  Because of this repeal, an Indiana resident who dies after January 1, 2013, will not have any inheritance tax owed to the State of Indiana.  For the 2019 calendar year, the federal estate tax exclusion amount is $11,400,000 for an individual who dies in 2019 meaning that an Indiana resident who dies in 2019 can give up to $11,400,000 worth of their property upon their death without any federal estate tax.  For most people, the Indiana and IRS rules alleviate any concern about the payment of inheritance taxes when they die.  There may still be income tax or capital gains tax that is owed by an heir or beneficiary depending on the circumstances.  You should consult with an experienced estate planning attorney to discuss the details of your estate planning situation.

Most people have heard the terms “Probate” or an “Estate”.  These terms are used when describing the legal process of administering a person’s estate with a probate court to legally transfer ownership of a person’s property (house, car, bank account, investment account, retirement fund, life insurance policy, personal property, etc.) after their death to that person’s heirs or beneficiaries.  Because this legal process takes time and money, most people wish to avoid Probate as much as possible so that their property may be given to the person, charity, or other entity of their choice with as little of an effort and with as little of a cost as possible.

Generally, when a person dies Probate becomes necessary.  However, there are several exemptions to this general rule that an experienced estate planning attorney can guide you through.  For example, Indiana passed the Transfer on Death Property Act in 2009 which allows a person to transfer the ownership of their home when they die without the need for Probate.  This type of ownership transfer is known as a non-probate transfer of property.

Everyone should have a Last Will and Testament containing their wishes as to whom they wish to give their property when they die; but, having a Last Will and Testament does not avoid Probate and the wishes contained in a Last Will and Testament generally do not supersede that person’s non-probate transfers of property.  It is important to consult with an experienced estate planning attorney to ensure you correctly avoid taxes and expenses when you die.

The content of this article is for informational purposes only and should not be considered legal advice.  Your matter is factually sensitive and unique, and you should not rely on this article, this website, or prior results to predict the outcome of your case.