Many in Indianapolis may insist that their will always be time for them to see to their estate planning. Whether it is due to a fear of having to confront their own mortality or not wanting to have to be the “bad guy” that upsets assumed beneficiaries with their decisions, even the prospect of creating a will is daunting to some. This contributes to the ever-growing number of those who do not have a will (which is nearly 60 percent of American adults, according to the American Association of Retired Persons). Refusing to address one’s estate planning could come back to haunt them in an unexpected illness or injury has them confronting the prospect of death much sooner than they anticipated. Yet even at such a late time in their lives, they still have the chance to create a will.
Indiana does indeed recognize nuncupative wills. These are oral wills given by those who, due to physical limitations, are unable to go through the process of executing a written will. Rather, they can state their wishes verbally in the same manner they might record them on a written document.
Section 29-1-5-4 of Indiana’s Probate Code details its requirements for nuncupative wills. In order for state courts to validate it, a nuncupative will must be executed as follows:
- It must be declared by the testator before two eligible witnesses
- It must be recorded by one of the witnesses within 30 days of its declaration
- The recorded will must then be submitted to be probated within six months of the testator’s death
It should be known that one cannot transfer ownership of more than $1,000 of personal property with a nuncupative will (the only exception is members of the military, where the limit is $10,000). A nuncupative also does not revoke a written will.