Thanks to technology, anyone with a computer or mobile device and reliable internet can reliably complete most of their day-to-day activities online. This might include shopping for groceries, depositing paychecks, and even attending school. With that being said, you can complete your will online, right? Well, not necessarily.
Although the technology to create an electronic will from end-to-end exists, some states are just now beginning to update their statutes to recognize digitally-created wills as valid. Indiana is one of these states, meaning that Indiana residents can enjoy this convenient and accessible option when it comes to estate planning. Keep reading to find out how to create your electronic will in Indiana, along with other important information.
Does Indiana allow electronic wills?
Yes, the state of Indiana does allow electronic wills. To create your electronic will, it’s recommended that you use an online will creation service such as the one provided by Trust & Will. (Fun fact: Indiana resident Ben Delost created the first-ever e-will in Indiana using technology provided by Trust & Will and partner company Notarize.)
Electronic wills became legally recognized in Indiana on July 1, 2018 through the passing of Indiana House Bill 1303. This bill allowed a Testator (the person writing a will) to execute a will electronically. The full text of the bill can be read here.
A new chapter governing electronic wills was added to the Indiana code. This chapter, Section 2 Indiana Code 29-1-21, discusses the rules and requirements pertaining to the creation, attestation, and execution of an electronic will. These requirements are discussed next.
What makes an electronic will in Indiana valid?
The state of Indiana has put forth requirements that must be met in order for an electronic will to have the same level of recognition as a traditional will.
Here are the requirements set forth per the Indiana Probate Code:
The Testator must be at least 18 years old, have a verifiable identity, have testamentary capacity (be of sound mind), and be free of duress and undue influence at the time of execution
The will must be signed with an electronic signature of the Testator and of at least two witnesses
The Testator and witnesses must be in each other’s actual presence at the time of signing
The Testator must command the software application to finalize the electronic will as an electronic record
Trust & Will now offers probate help. Learn more about our different plan option, today.
How can I create my electronic will in Indiana?
While the e-will creation process can vary from provider to provider, here are the general steps to creating an electronic will in Indiana:
Decide what assets and property you’d like to include in your will
Decide who your beneficiaries are (who will inherit your property)
Choose an Executor who you’d like to manage your estate
Choose a Guardian for any dependent children or pets (if applicable)
Choose someone who will manage your children’s property
Select your online will creation service provider
Customize the provided will with your personal information and decision-making
Electronically sign your will in the physical presence of your two witnesses
Ask your witnesses to electronically sign your will
Follow the prompts provided by your service provider to complete and execute your will
Store your electronic will securely in a digital vault
Luckily, creating an electronic will can be easy. For instance, you can create your e-will by utilizing an online will-making service provider. For instance, Trust & Will partnered with Notarize, an online notary, to provide the first-ever completely digital will.
This allows Testators to customize, sign, and notarize their online will completely digitally, from end-to-end. There is no need to print out and store a physical copy of the will; once executed, the e-will can be stored digitally using a digital vault.
It’s also important to note that there is an additional step if you would like for the electronic will to be self-proving, you and your witnesses can add a self-proving clause to the will.
The reason why many Testators choose to make a will self-proving is to help speed up the probate process. With a self-proving clause, the Indiana probate court will not need to later call in witnesses to testify regarding the validity of the will.
Here is an example of a self-proving clause provided by Justia U.S. Law, per the Indiana Probate Code:
"We, the undersigned testator and the undersigned witnesses, whose names are signed to the attached or foregoing instrument, declare:
(1) That the testator executed the instrument as the testator's will.
(2) That, in the actual and direct physical presence of both witnesses, the testator signed the will or directed another individual who is not one of the witnesses to sign for the testator in the testator's presence and in the witnesses' actual and direct physical presence;
(3) That the testator executed the will as a free and voluntary act for the purposes expressed in it;
(4) That each of the witnesses, in the actual and direct physical presence of the testator and each other, signed the will as a witness;
(5) That the testator was of sound mind when the will was executed; and
(6) That, to the best knowledge of each attesting witness, the testator was, at the time the will was executed, at least eighteen (18) years of age or was a member of the armed forces or of the merchant marine of the United States or its allies.”
Here, you may be wondering whether notarization will be required in order to make the electronic will self-proving. This is a great question, because in most states, notarization is required if you want your will to be self-proving. The allowance of online notary services has been critical to make electronic wills feasible. However, the state of Indiana is unique in the sense that notarization is not required in order to make the will self-proving. The Testator should be careful to include the self-proving clause referenced above.
Create your electronic will today!
The state of Indiana was one of the very first states to legally recognize the use of electronic wills. This is a great marker of progress, as the allowance of electronic wills can make estate planning more easy and accessible for American families. By using affordable and convenient online will-creation services, they won’t necessarily have to hire an estate planning attorney or go through great lengths to execute an Estate Plan. Removing these barriers to entry will surely help increase the number of Americans who will have a will in place by the time they pass away. This is a crucial step that will help more Americans preserve and grow intergenerational wealth and increase equity across wealth gaps.
If you are a resident of Indiana, you should now have a better idea of how to create your electronic will in Indiana. The steps for creating your electronic will do not differ too much from those of a traditional will. You will still need to sign your will in the presence of two witnesses. However, your will can be created online from end-to-end, and all parties involved can complete the will using electronic signatures. Last but not least, don’t forget to store your will safely in a digital vault.
Trust & Will is an online estate planning service that is a trusted e-will provider. Here, we explain how you can create your electronic will through us. So long as you live in a state that recognizes the legal use of electronic wills, we have made it so that your online will creation is a one-stop-shop! We partnered with Notarize, an online notary service, and we also provide an online storage service for your will. All you have to do is answer some questions and follow intuitive prompts to create your will. We help you take care of the rest!
Find out how you can start creating your electronic will today!
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Trust & Will is an online service providing legal forms and information. We are not a law firm and we do not provide legal advice.