It’s a well-known fact: states within the United States have their own identities, their own cultures, and even their own laws. What works in Minnesota may not work in Kentucky, and vice versa. When it comes to your estate planning, little variations in state law can make a big difference to you and your heirs.
What documents are typically in an estate plan?
Again, that may vary depending on state law. In Minnesota, estate plans typically include:
- The Last Will and Testament (the Will),
- A durable power of attorney, and
- A health care power of attorney.
Many estate plans also include:
- A living will,
- An ethical will, or
- A trust.
Minnesota law regulates Minnesota estate planning documents. However, what happens if your estate planning documents have moved here with you across state lines?
First, let’s look at what makes an estate planning document valid under Minnesota law.
The Will must be in writing, signed by the testator or someone else as directed by the testator, and witnessed by at least two individuals. A Will is not considered to be invalid if an interested party has signed the Will as a witness.
For a power of attorney to be durable, it must contain language like “This power of attorney shall not be affected by incapacity or incompetence of the principal.”
A health care power of attorney must be in writing, dated, and state the principal’s name. The person signing the document is called the principal, and that person must be competent to do so. Finally, the document must include instructions regarding health care and/or name a health care agent.
Does Minnesota law say anything about out-of-state Wills?
Yes, the Minnesota Revised Statutes address the issue of documents that were executed in another state.
An out-of-state Will is generally considered to be valid if it complies with the laws in place where the Will was executed. As an example, a Will signed in North Dakota that complies with North Dakota law is probably valid in Minnesota also.
If a durable power of attorney was created in another state or country, it is valid if it complies with the laws of that state or country.
And health care directives or powers of attorney signed in another state are generally considered valid in Minnesota if they comply with the laws of that state.
To make sure your estate planning documents will work in Minnesota, consult with a Minnesota attorney. The lawyers at Virtus Law can review your out-of-state Will and help you with any necessary changes. Contact us by calling 612.888.1000 or by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Our main office is in Minneapolis, with other offices located in Maplewood, Cambridge, Edina, Mendota Heights, and Red Wing.