To make a valid will under Minnesota law, the will must be:
- In writing;
- Signed by the testator;
- Signed by two witnesses.
The requirements to make a valid will in Minnesota can be found at Minnesota Statutes § 524.2-502.
Who Can Make a Valid Will Under Minnesota Law?
Any person 18 or more years of age who is of sound mind may make a valid will under Minnesota law. Minnesota Statutes § 524.2-501.
To be of sound mind under Minnesota law, the person making the will (the testator), must “understand the nature, situation, and extent of his property and the claims of others on his bounty” and can do so for long enough to form a rational judgment concerning them.
A Valid Minnesota Will Must Be Signed By the Testator
Minnesota law requires that a will be signed by the testator OR signed in the testator’s name by some other individual in the testator’s conscious presence and by the testator’s direction. A Minnesota will can also be signed by the testator’s conservator pursuant to court order under section 524.5-411.
A Minnesota will should be signed in the testator’s name by another person only if the testator is physically unable to sign the will. Having another person sign for the testator makes it easier for someone challenging the validity of the will to argue that the testator lacked the capacity to execute the will, even if the reason for having another person sign had nothing to do with the testator’s mental capacity.
Witness Requirements For a Valid Minnesota Will
Section 524.2-502 requires that a Minnesota will is:
- Signed by at least two individuals;
- Each of whom sign the will within a reasonable time after witnessing either (a) the signing of the will or (b) the testator’s acknowledgement of that signature or acknowledgement of the will.
Who Can Witness a Will In Minnesota?
An individual generally competent to be a witness may act as a witness to a will under Minnesota law.
The signing of a will by an interested witness (someone who benefits from the will) does not invalidate the will or any provision of it.
Does a Minnesota Will Have To Be Notarized To Be Valid?
A will does not need to be notarized to be valid under Minnesota law.
However, a will can be made “self-proving” in Minnesota, by attesting to the execution of the will in front of a notary. Minnesota provides a form to use to make a will self-proving, which should be generally followed. See Minnesota Statutes § 524.2-504. Having a self-proving will can make the probate process simpler, because the witnesses are not required to attest to the will’s validity after the death of the testator.
The best way to make sure that you have created a valid will under Minnesota law that carries out your wishes is to prepare your will with a Minnesota probate lawyer.