Should I Handwrite My Will?

By Chris Tymchuck
Founding Attorney

A Minnesota Estate Planning Lawyer Explains Why You Should NOT Handwrite Your Will

We’ve all heard the stories.  A dying person writes out a will on a car bumper.  Is such a will valid in Minnesota?  Generally, a handwritten will – called holographic – is not valid here.

What is a Valid Will?

Under Minnesota probate law, your will must be in writing, signed and witnessed by two people.  What does it mean to witness a will?  The two people you select are essentially making a promise to the probate court that they saw (witnessed) you sign the will.  In order to make such a promise, they must be present at the time, and actually see, you sign the will.

There is an exception. If the handwritten will was validly executed in a state that does allow such wills (e.g. Texas), Minnesota courts will honor it. This exception only applies to a small number of people.

Don’t take the risk

If you decide to draft your own will, you run the risk a court will invalidate it.  You must sign your written will in front of two people who sign as witnesses.  Further, you should also sign in front of a notary to deter others from contesting the validity of your signature.

Minnesota Estate Planning Attorney

Call now to set up an appointment with an experienced  estate-planning attorney to discuss your options.

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.