Creating a Valid Will in Minnesota: Four Simple Steps

By Chris Tymchuck
Founding Attorney

So, you have diligently read my blog and my prior posts explaining the consequences of dying without a will in Minnesota have convinced you to get a will.  Now what?

What are the requirements for a valid will in Minnesota?

The following are the legal requirements for creating a valid will.

  1. You must be at least 18 years old;
  2. You must be of  “sound mind.” This generally means that that you know you are making a will and are familiar with your property and your heirs;
  3. Your will must be in writing, signed by the you and two witnesses.  If you cannot physically sign your name then you may direct another party, who is not a witness, to do so; and
  4. Execute a “Self-Proving Affidavit.” Ok, this is not actually a legal requirement but as a nontraditional family, it is crucial to withstand any challenges to the validity your will. This document must be signed by you, two witnesses and a notary all at the same time (this generally means that you must have 3 other people present at signing). Minnesota law states that the probate court will automatically accept as authentic any will with a properly executed Self-Proving Affidavit.  This can be especially important for nontraditional families who may have legal heirs who, unhappy with the distribution of your property, attempt to challenge the validity of the will. The Affidavit protects your witnesses by allowing them to avoid having to appear in court to testify that your will was validly signed.

Please note that each witness must sign the will in the your presence. It is also a good idea to use witnesses that are  “disinterested”, which means that they are not a beneficiary of your will.  However, the signing of a will by an interested witness does not invalidate your will or any of its provisions. You should still try to avoid having your partner-beneficiary sign as a witness to your will.

Now you know that as a member of a nontraditional family, you must have a will.  And you know that it is not difficult to create a valid will in Minnesota.  So, take control and protect your loved ones – get a will now!

About the Author
As a Minneapolis Estate Planning and Probate attorney I help build and protect families through the adoption, estate planning, and probate processes. I also have experience working with families on issues related to their small businesses. I know how difficult it is to find time to plan for the future and I am here to help walk you through it.