Drafting a will can be an essential part of the estate planning process and can make matters easier on your family upon your death. While you are not legally required to have a will, a will is an effective way for you to control how your property will be distributed when you pass away.  If you die with assets in your name alone without a will, then Minnesota Statutes provide a default distribution, which may be to people you never intended to receive your estate.

In order to create a will in Minnesota, you need to be at least 18 years old and of sound mind. The will must be in writing and signed by you, by another person in your conscious presence and at your direction, or by your conservator (upon court order). The will must also be signed by at least two witnesses. Lastly, you must intend for the document in question to operate as a will.

To establish that the will was properly executed, you can make your will “self-proving.” This means that you and your witnesses will have to sign an affidavit to establish that you are over the age of 18, were not under undue influence, and of sound mind when you signed and executed the will. If a will is self-proven, the court will accept it without having to track down witnesses.

The will itself can be constructed in different ways, but most wills include the same basic elements. You will need to describe the assets you wish to distribute and to whom they will be distributed. You can also establish trusts, cancel any debts owed to you, name a guardian for your minor children, and name beneficiaries of any trust.

To speak with one of our Trust and Estate attorneys, call us at 320-200-4928. You can also contact us online.

Established more than 95 years ago, Quinlivan & Hughes ranks among the oldest and largest law practices in Central Minnesota. The full-service law firm has growing legal teams in the areas of employment law, business law, government law, insurance defense, trust and estate planning, and general litigation. Learn more at Quinlivan.com.