Creating a will is an important step in planning the distribution of your estate (assets including real and personal property) following your death. Indiana wills allow for any children, your spouse, other family members, and pets to be provided for after your death. LegalZoom works with the testator (or the person making the will), to create valid Indiana wills and to assign a person (called the executor in most states) to administer an Indiana last will and testament after the death of the testator.
Basic Requirements of an Indiana Last Will and Testament:
Age: The testator must be at least 18 years old or who is younger and a member of the armed forces, or of the merchant marine of the United States, or its allies
Capacity: The testator must be of sound (capable of reasoning and making decisions) mind.
Signature: An Indiana last will and testament must be signed by the testator, or another person under the testator's direction and presence may sign the will.
Witnesses: Two or more witnesses must sign an Indiana last will and testament in the presence of the testator and each other, and witness the signing of the will by the testator or the testator's acknowledgement of her signature.
Writing: An Indiana last will and testament must be in writing to be valid.
Beneficiaries: A will may make a disposition of property to any person.
Other types of recognized wills:
Nuncupative Wills: A nuncupative will is made only by a person in imminent death, and is valid only if the person died from the impending peril. Indiana laws have specific requirements regarding the creation of valid nuncupative wills.
Distribution of Property:
A will is a legal document created by you to determine how your property, known as your estate, is distributed after your death. Your estate consists of assets and property including bank accounts, homes, land, furniture, automobiles, and securities (stocks and bonds). In general, Indiana laws allow you to dispose of your property as you wish.
Other Purposes of Wills:
Our Indiana wills form may be used to designate a guardian for any minor children.
Our Indiana wills form may also be used to name an executor (also called a personal representative or administrator) to handle a testator's property and affairs from the time of death until an estate is settled.
A will may pass on property to a charity.
Notable exceptions to the ability to distribute property:
Property owned in joint tenancy with a right of survivorship automatically passes onto the surviving owner.
A will may not alter a beneficiary to a life insurance policy.
Providing for Pets
Indiana law currently does not have specific statutes pertaining to providing care for pets. However, the testator may specify a beneficiary as the new owner of a pet using our Indiana wills form.
Changing and Revoking
Changing a Will
An Indiana will and testament may be changed whenever the testator desires.
An Indiana will and testament can be changed through a codicil, which is a document stating additions or changes to the original will. Codicils must be executed in accordance with Indiana laws.
Revoking a Will
An Indiana will and testament may be revoked by destroying or mutilating the will either by the testator or somebody else in the testator's presence and direction. A will may also be revoked, either entirely or in part, by a subsequent will created in accordance with Indiana laws.
Probate and Estate Taxes
After the testator has died, probate procedures prove the validity of the will, pay off debts and taxes of the estate, and distribute property as designated in the will. After the testator's death, the person in possession of the will should deliver it to the county court where the testator died to begin probate proceedings.
Indiana has a class based inheritance tax system dependent on who gets the property distributed by the Indiana last will after the testator's death and the amount of property.
It is extremely important to make an Indiana will if you want to control the distribution of your estate. If you die without a valid will, you are said to have died "intestate" and your property will be distributed according to strict Indiana laws.
For example, if you die leaving a spouse, then the spouse will receive one half of the estate, and any children receive the remaining half. If no children exist at the time of the death, then the spouse receives of the estate, and any surviving parents receive the rest.
If you make an Indiana will, your valid will prevents the laws of intestacy from deciding the distribution of your estate.