Leaving a Will is a person’s way of telling the world how they want their estate assets to be handled. However, signing a Will that does not meet the legal requirements of a valid Will means that you may as well have died intestate (without a Will).
General Validity Guidelines
For any kind of Will to be considered valid, it must include the following:
- Document must be in writing (typed or printed)
- The testator must sign the Will;
- Two people must sign indicating they were both present to witness the testator sign the Will and to sign the Will as witnesses.
- The testator must be age 18 or older and of sound mind (mentally competent);
- Witnesses must be generally qualified to serve as witnesses.
While the following actions probably will not invalidate a Will, they are recommended:
- Witnesses should be “disinterested,” meaning they do not have an interest in the estate.
- It’s best for Wills to be “self-proved,” meaning the testator and witnesses signed an affidavit that the Will is authentic and was properly executed.
As noted above, Minnesota law states that Wills must be in writing, either types or printed. At this time, Minnesota does not recognize the following three types of Wills:
- Holographic. A Will that is handwritten is called a holographic Will.
- Oral (Nuncupative). Some states recognize Wills that are spoken, not written.
- Electronic. This type of Will is controversial, with several states attempting legislation to have them considered valid. An electronic Will is signed electronically. In some cases, the witnesses are notary are not in the same room – or even the same state – as the testator.
Make Sure Your Estate Planning Checks All the Boxes.
Your carefully laid estate plans could be upended if the Will you signed is not considered a valid one. If no valid Will exists, the distribution of your estate will be determined by a judge using Minnesota intestacy law.
At Virtus Law, we know it can be difficult to talk about estate planning. We also know also how important it is for clients to have complete estate plans. To schedule an appointment with one of our estate planning attorneys, contact us at 612.888.1000 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Our main office is in Minneapolis, but we serve other communities like Edina, Mendota Heights, and Red Wing.