The Elective Share Statute in Indiana
Pursuant to the Indiana Law, surviving spouses have legal rights to renounce their inheritances in
favor of their statutory elective shares. Based on the Uniform Probate Code, the Indiana Law
contains an elective share allowance whereby one spouse cannot entirely disinherit the other in
the absence of a valid nuptial or marital agreement. Thus, if you are an Indiana resident, and you
are the surviving spouse without an inheritance under your deceased spouse’s Will, you will
receive an elective share of property if you exercise your statutory elective share rights.
If your spouse left you a small inheritance in his/her Will, you can disclaim or renounce your
inheritance in favor of your statutory elective share. The Indiana Law provides for a statutory
one-half share of the deceased spouse’s net estate in favor of a surviving spouse’s elective share
right. However, the Indiana Law limits the statutory 50 percent share to certain spouses. If you
are a surviving spouse, but your deceased spouse was previously married, you will receive a
smaller statutory share if you did not have children with your deceased spouse. In this case, a
surviving spouse who did not have children with her/his deceased spouse receives only one-third
of his/her personal estate and a quarter of his/her real estate if her/his husband/wife had children
who survive him/her.
To exercise your statutory elective share and to renounce your inherited share, you must do so
within a strict time limit under Indiana law. Indiana law requires you to exercise your elective
share rights within 10 days of the time that other individuals can file claims to the decedent’s
estate. Generally, the time limit is within three months after publication of the executor’s
appointment within a newspaper of general circulation.
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