Q: My father has created numerous wills. Is there a point where he has to make a final decision and stop with all of the changes?

A: Not really. Generally speaking as long as someone is competent and at least 18 years of age, they can make a will. Wills are also amendable and revocable at any time so he isn't locked into any one of them.

If your father makes a will and changes his mind, he can revoke the existing will at any time by a number of methods, including making a new will, which revokes the prior one. I suppose the fact that he keeps changing his mind could be evidence of something else going on, such as undue influence, but that doesn't mean he can't make changes.

The fact is, people change their minds, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. I've had a number of clients that have changed their wills on a regular basis and as long as they understood what they were doing and I was comfortable that they weren't being influenced, I made the changes.

Q: If a person creates a will in Indiana and then moves to another state, is the will still valid?

A: Probably, but it's best to have it looked at by an attorney licensed in the new state.

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Most states have statutes that recognize wills that were created legally in another state. Indiana is one of those states.

Although valid, I still think it's a good idea to have an attorney in the new state take a look at it.

Remember that probate laws vary from state to state. Indiana's probate code is not the same as Michigan's or Illinois'. The differences may be small or large. For example, if you move from Indiana, which is a noncommunity property state, to a community-property state, I can almost guarantee that inheritance rights are going to be substantially different.

If you move from Indiana to another state, I think chances are pretty good that the will you property executed in Indiana will be recognized in the new state, but I'd still check to be sure.

Thanks for the questions.


Christopher W. Yugo is an attorney in Crown Point. Chris’ Estate Planning Article appears online every Sunday at www.nwi.com. Address questions to Chris in care of The Times, 601 W. 45th Ave., Munster, IN 46321 or to Chrisyugolaw@gmail.com. Chris’ information is meant to be general in nature. Specific legal, tax, or insurance questions should be referred to your attorney, accountant, or estate-planning specialist.