Fulton County, Indiana

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Filling Wills with the Circuit Court Clerk - Chapter 10

Statutory Authority

Ind. Code 29 -1-7- 3.1 allows a person to deposit a will and/or codicil (hereinafter “will”) with the Circuit Court Clerk. The will may be deposited with the Circuit Court Clerk of the county in which the testator resided when the will was executed. The Circuit Court Clerk does not have to determine whether his or her county is the right place for the filing. The statute allows the Circuit Court Clerk to assume, without inquiring further, the depositor of the will is correct about the testator's county of residence.

The Mechanics

  1. The Circuit Court Clerk shall collect a $25.00 fee for the deposit of the will. The Circuit Court shall waive the fee if a court with probate jurisdiction in the county where the will is deposited certifies that the depositor is a participant of, or acting on behalf of, a participant of a Supreme Court Program, such as the Judges and Lawyers Assistance Program, and the certification accompanies the will. The Circuit Court may waive the fee if the depositor no longer practices law.
  2. The Circuit Court Clerk shall then deposit the fee into the Circuit Court Clerk's Record Perpetuation Fund (Ind. Code 33-37-5-2).
  3. Upon receipt of the will, the Circuit Court Clerk shall provide the depositor with a receipt for the will, place the will in an envelope, and seal the envelope in the presence of the depositor.
  4. The Clerk shall then designate on the envelope: the date of the deposit, the name of the testator and the name and address of the depositor.
  5. The Clerk will index the will alphabetically by the name of the testator.
  6. A will filed pursuant to this statute does NOT receive a case number, unless the number is assigned under the “CB-Court Business Record” designation.

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Access to Will

  • Public Access: Public access to the will is not allowed because the deposited will is not a public record in under Ind. Code 5-14-3.
  • Testator’s or authorized person’s access: During the testator’s lifetime, the Clerk must keep the envelope containing the will sealed and deliver the envelope ONLY to the testator or a person authorized in writing, signed by the testator, to receive the envelope. After the death of the testator, the Clerk may deliver the will to the court that has jurisdiction of the administration of the decedent's estate.

Retention of Will

Under Ind. Code 29-1-7-3.1, the Circuit Court Clerk may destroy the deposited will if

  • The Clerk has not received notice of the Testator’s death and
  • At least one hundred (100) years has passed since the will was deposited.

CONTACT: Richard T. Payne

richard.payne@courts.in.gov

Direct: 317-234-5398

30 S. Meridian St., Suite 500

Indianapolis, IN 46204

Main: 317-232-2542

Fax: 317-233-6586

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