Why Having a Legally Binding Will Matters

As a Minnesota resident, you've worked hard to build your life and accumulate assets. Having a legally valid will in place is crucial for determining what happens to everything you've earned when you're gone. Without a will that follows state laws, you lose the ability to make those decisions yourself.

When there's no valid will, Minnesota's intestacy statutes govern how your property gets distributed – and the results may not align with your true wishes. Your assets could pass to distant relatives instead of the loved ones you'd choose. There's also no way to name a trusted person as executor to oversee the probate process.

Creating a will provides enforcement of your specific desires about heirs, property distribution, guardians for minor children, and the executor you want handling your estate. It gives you full control and prevents potential family conflicts.

The Core Requirements for Creating a Valid Will in Minnesota

Fortunately, Minnesota has straightforward laws about what makes a will legally valid and enforceable. As outlined in Statute 524.2-501, you must be at least 18 years old and of sound mind to create a will in the state.

According to Minnesota Statute 524.2-502, a few core formalities must be observed:

  1. You must be 18.
  2. The will must be in writing – No oral or recorded wills are permitted.
  3. You must sign the document yourself – Or it can be signed in your presence and at your direction. With court approval, your conservator can sign for you.
  4. Two adult witnesses must sign too – They witness your signing or acknowledgment, then sign within a reasonable timeframe

Who Can Witness a Will in Minnesota?

Under Statute 524.2-505, any generally competent adult can serve as a witness for your will's signing. This includes individuals who may inherit something from your estate – their signature won't invalidate the will.

However, most estate planners recommend using clearly disinterested witnesses to prevent potential claims of impropriety down the road. Suitable witnesses have sound mental capacity and no financial interest in your estate's outcome.

The Value of Making Your Minnesota Will "Self-Proved"

Minnesota law offers a straightforward way to streamline the probate process – by making your will "self-proved." The procedures outlined in Statute 524.2-504 create a powerful legal assumption that your will is valid.

Self-proving a will involves signing sworn affidavits before a notary public when the document is executed. You, the testator, affirm that you are of sound mind, acting voluntarily, and following the will creation laws. Your witness signatures attest to your mental state and proper processes.

As long as you strictly follow the prescribed affidavit language in the statute, your self-proved will is considered fully valid without further testimony from the witnesses during probate. This saves your heirs considerable time, money, and headaches after your passing.

Why You Should Work With an Experienced Attorney

While will requirements in Minnesota aim to be straightforward, estate planning contains many nuances that can derail your legacy plans if you're not careful. This is why it's highly advisable to work with an experienced, locally-based estate attorney when drafting your will.

An estate lawyer ensures total compliance with Minnesota's will execution and witness requirements. They analyze your unique financial situation, beneficiaries, and wishes to create a will that accomplishes your goals precisely. They also coordinate other crucial estate planning tools like trusts, powers of attorney, healthcare directives, and more.

Having an attorney's expert guidance gives you confidence that your will is truly valid and enforceable – and your loved ones won't face any asset draining challenges during the already difficult probate process.

Take Action to Protect Your Savings Today

Creating a valid will that complies with all Minnesota's legal requirements is one of the most important steps you can take to protect your assets and make it easier for your family.

At Roulet Law Firm, P.A., our team of dedicated professionals has a deep understanding of Florida's complex estate planning laws, and we stay up-to-date with the latest changes and strategies. We understand that every family's situation is unique, which is why we take a personalized approach to estate planning.

If you would like to will or estate plan prepared, or update an old one, call us today at 763-420-5087 to schedule a consultation. Or you can fill out the form on this page and a member of our team will reach out to you to schedule. During our initial consultation, we'll take the time to understand your goals, family dynamics, and financial situation. From there, we'll craft a comprehensive estate plan that not only includes a valid will but also incorporates other essential components, such as powers of attorney, healthcare directives, and trusts, if applicable.

Or, if you are not yet ready to schedule a consultation and would like additional information, click here to sign up for our free online masterclass where I reveal insider strategies for your will, trust, powers of attorney and health care documents that can help your family avoid probate, save on taxes and make it as easy an inexpensive as possible if something were to happen to you.

Chuck Roulet
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Nationally Recognized Estate Planning Attorney, Author, and Speaker