Indiana Last Will and Testament Law


Wills and Estates – Last Will and Testament Law – Indiana

Note:    This summary is not intended to be an all inclusive discussion of the law of wills in Indiana, but does contain basic and other information.  This summary does not include information about hand written wills.

Who may make a will: Any person of sound mind who is eighteen (18) years of age or older, or who is younger and a member of the armed forces, or of the merchant marine of the United States, or its allies, may make a will. IC 29-1-5-1

Legislative History: Acts 1953, ch. 112, § 501; 1971, P.L. 404, § 1.

Execution: All wills, except a non cupative will shall be in writing, signed by the testator in the presence of the witnesses and witnessed by at least 2 witnesses. The attesting witnesses must sign in the presence of the testator and each other.  IC 29-1-5-3

(a) This section applies to a will executed before, on, or after July 1, 2003

Legislative History: Acts 1953, ch. 112, § 503; 1975, P.L.288, § 4; 1978, P.L.132, § 2; P.L.273-1983, § 1; P.L.273-1985, § 1; P.L.262-1989, § 1; P.L.4-2003, § 1; P.L.176-2003, § 6.

Who may Witness: Any person competent at the time of attestation to be a witness generally in this state may act as an attesting witness to the execution of a will. IC 29-1-5-2

Interested Witness: If any person shall be a subscribing witness to the execution of any will in which any interest is passed to him, and such will cannot be proved without his testimony or proof of his signature thereto as a witness, such will shall be void only as to him and persons claiming under him, and he shall be compelled to testify respecting the execution of such will as if no such interest had been passed to him; but if he would have been entitled to a distributive share of the testator’s estate except for such will, then so much of said estate as said witness would have been thus entitled to, not exceeding the value of such interest passed to him by such will, shall be saved to him. The fact that a person is named in the will as executor, trustee, or guardian, or as counsel for the estate, personal representative, trustee or guardian does not make him an interested person. IC 29-1-5-2

Legislative History: Acts 1953, ch. 112, § 502.

Nuncupative will: A nuncupative will may be made only by a person in imminent peril of death, whether from illness or otherwise, and shall be valid only if the testator died as a result of the impending peril.  A nuncupative will must be made before  two disinterested witnesses and reduced to writing by or under the direction of one of the witnesses within 30 days after such declaration and submitted for probate within six months after the death of the testator.

A nuncupative will does not revoke an existing written will. Such written will is changed only to the extent necessary to give effect to the nuncupative will. IC 29-1-5-4

Legislative History: Acts 1953, ch. 112, § 504.

Foreign Wills: A will is legally executed if the manner of its execution complies with the Indiana law, the law of the place of execution, or the law of the domicile of the testator at the time of execution or at the time of his death. IC 29-1-5-5

Legislative History: Acts 1953, ch. 112, § 505.

Revocation: A will may be revoked by the testator, or some other person in his presence and by his direction, with intent to revoke, destroying or mutilate the same. The testator may also revoke the will by making another will with the purpose of revoking the will. IC 29-1-5-6 And if, after the making of any will, the testator shall execute a second, a revocation of the second shall not revive the first will, unless it shall appear by the terms of such revocation to have been his intent to revive it, or, unless, after such revocation, he shall duly republish the previous will.

Legislative History: Acts 1953, ch. 112, § 506; 1982, P.L.171, § 16; P.L.4-2003, § 4.

Divorce: If after making a will the testator is divorced, all provisions in the will in favor of the testator’s spouse so divorced are thereby revoked. Annulment of the testator’s marriage shall have the same effect as a divorce. IC 29-1-5-8

Legislative History: Acts 1953, ch. 112, § 508.