Wills are a vital document that can ensure your wishes and directives are followed after your death. However, simply writing this down isn’t enough to make it legally valid. The State of Minnesota has specific conditions that must be met for a Will to be valid.
Requirements for a Valid Minnesota Will
A person making a Will must be a legal adult (aged 18 or older) and of sound mind to execute a valid Will. The Will must be in writing, signed, and witnessed by two witnesses to validate it fully. Below, we discuss a bit more about each of these requirements.
In Minnesota, a typed or printed Will counts as a Will that is in writing. However, handwritten Wills, also called “holographic Wills,” are not generally considered valid under Minnesota law. However, if a person wrote a holographic Will in another state where those are valid, and it was valid in the time and place it was made, a Minnesota probate court may accept it. Minnesota courts will not accept video wills.
Signatures for Minnesota Wills
An acceptable signature for a Minnesota Will means that the person making it personally signed the written Will in ink with their name. However, suppose the person making the Will is physically incapable of holding a pen. In that case, a “signature” on a Minnesota Will is still valid if it was done in the person’s name, in their presence, and at their direction, e.g. someone holding the pen for them and making a mark or the person making the Will directing someone to actually sign their name for them. Anyone doing this would need to be able to prove later, if necessary, that the person had “testamentary capacity”, which means they know who the “natural objects of their affection” are (e.g. spouse, children, live-in companion, etc.) and have a general idea what their estate consists of (e.g. home, automobile, 401-k, etc.) This situation sometimes applies to disable or elderly persons.
Under very limited circumstances, another person can validly sign a person’s Will without the person’s direction. This primarily happens through the appointment of a conservator. This person is appointed by the probate court to manage the financial affairs of someone who lacks the legal capacity to do so themselves. After having received court approval, a conservator may sign a Will on behalf of a person subject to conservatorship.
It’s also important to note that, at present, Minnesota generally does not recognize digital signatures for Wills, even in this era of remote review and e-signatures. A person wishing to sign a Will (or their representative) must sign the Will in person according to the above conditions.
Witnesses for Valid Minnesota Wills
A valid Minnesota Will requires two witnesses to sign the Will after witnessing the person sign the Will or witnessing the person acknowledge the Will or the signature on the Will. The witnesses must be in the same room at the same time. It’s also worth noting that having a notary sign the Will alone isn’t enough to make it valid.
Suppose you’re considering making a Will in Minnesota. In that case, it’s crucial to consult an experienced estate planning attorney who knows the ins and outs of the law and can help prepare a document that best meets your needs. Families across Wayzata and the Twin Cities trust Waldron Law Offices, Ltd. with all of their estate planning needs. Call (952) 471-0940 today to learn more.