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Indiana Wills Laws

We all might have ideas about what wills do from TV and movies, but what does a will mean, legally? A will is a document (or an oral statement in certain limited circumstances) that details a plan for an individual's property and affairs after he or she passes away. For example, a person's will could state that his prized 1965 Lincoln Continental should go to his grandson and his library of racing books be donated to his alma mater. Indiana will laws are similar to will laws in other states, but have no statutory provisions when it comes to holographic, or handwritten, wills.

Will Laws in Indiana

The main provisions of Indiana's will laws are listed in the table below.

Code Section

§§29-1-5-1, et seq.

Age of Testator

Any person of sound mind over 18 or who is younger and a member of the armed forces or merchant marine or its allies

Number of Witnesses

Must be signed and acknowledged in presence of two or more witnesses; witnesses must sign in presence of testator and each other.

Nuncupative (Oral Wills)

Valid only if made in imminent peril of death and testator dies from such peril; need two disinterested witnesses; one witness needs to reduce to writing within 30 days after declaration; and must be submitted to probate within 6 months after death; may only dispose of personal property not exceeding $1,000 in value; except persons in active military service in time of war can dispose of personal property not exceeding $10,000 in value; does not revoke existing written will-only changed so as to give effect to the nuncupative will.

Holographic Wills

No statutory provisions

Understanding Wills

The legal terminology used in Indiana estate planning laws can seem strange and confusing at first. For clarification, a “testator” is the person whose after-death wishes are explained in the will. A “nuncupative” will is one that is oral, spoken, or otherwise unwritten, and normally can only cover a limited amount of personal property ($1,000 worth in Indiana). And a “holographic” will is a handwritten testament, which is subject to more scrutiny than a typed or printed will.

Indiana Wills Laws: Related Resources

Creating a will on your own, especially one that accomplishes exactly what you intended, can be overwhelming. If you would like legal assistance interpreting or creating a will, you can contact an Indiana wills attorney near you. You can also visit FindLaw’s Wills section for more general information on creating and changing a will.

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