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The 3 main requirements for a valid will in Minnesota

On Behalf of | Jan 9, 2024 | Estate Planning

Most adults in Minnesota know that an estate plan is a valuable resource. Still, many people procrastinate about creating a will or drafting other estate planning paperwork. They believe that the process is too complicated or that their rapidly-changing personal circumstances justify waiting to put together an estate plan.

Eventually, they may pay the price for their procrastination if something happens to them and they do not have testamentary documents and other estate planning paperwork on record. Rushing to create a will could also be a mistake, as people might not get the right guidance and could put together documents that may not hold up in the Minnesota probate courts.

Any will must comply with Minnesota state law for it to govern the probate process. What are the Minnesota requirements for a valid will?

The will must be in writing

Ever since video and audio recording became affordable and accessible, people have played with the idea of leaving audio or video wills. Such instruments feature heavily in Hollywood films and television shows, in part because having characters read lengthy documents would not be very entertaining for the audience. Unfortunately, people may wrongfully believe that they can leave a visual or audio will when Minnesota law requires written testamentary instruments.

The testator must sign the will

The signature of a testator serves to validate that the will reflects their personal wishes. Therefore, someone who is over the age of 18 and of sound mind who creates a will must sign the document they draft if they expect the Minnesota probate courts to uphold that document later.

Two witnesses must be present

The final requirement for a valid Minnesota will is the presence of two witnesses when the testator signs the document. Both of those witnesses typically need to sign the will as well. Any lawful adult of sound mind can potentially serve as a witness to someone’s will. However, if the witnesses are also beneficiaries, that may raise questions about the validity of the documents. Witnesses who do not have an interest in the estate are usually a better option than witnesses who are also beneficiaries of the estate plan.

When someone works with a Minnesota estate planning attorney to draft a will, they can feel confident that their documents comply with all state requirements. Learning more about the basic standards for Minnesota wills may help people draft documents that can help to determine their legacy after they die.