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Your North Dakota last will and testament, created with confidence

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North Dakota will options for every family

Last Will and Testament

For One Person

A do-it-yourself last will that’s easy to personalize.

$99
What’s included:
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Step-by-step guided process
Attorney-approved document compliant with your state’s laws
A last will and testament that’s customized to your wishes
Free changes and revisions to your will for up to one full year after purchase

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Estate Planning Package

For One person

All the forms you need to create a personal estate plan

$189
What’s included:
What’s included
Last will and testament
Health care directive
Power of attorney
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A comprehensive plan — for less
Free changes and revisions for up to one year after purchase

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North Dakota last will and testament forms in no time

If you die without a last will and testament (a “will”) in North Dakota, your property will be distributed according to state laws (“intestacy laws“). If you have a blended family, an unmarried partner, minor children, or other special circumstances, these laws might not fit with your needs. A will enables you to avoid these default laws.

With a will, you can make your own choices about who will receive your property and who will be a guardian to your minor children. Ease a challenging period for your family by clearly communicating your desires about what happens to your assets, when beneficiaries can inherit, and specifying individuals you prefer not to include. This ensures your estate plan aligns precisely with your true intentions, providing clarity and peace of mind for all involved.

Kimberly_Lekman_image

Written by:

Kimberly Lekman, Esq.

Contributing Author

Reviewed by:

John Devendorf, Esq.

Contributing Author

How It Works

It only takes minutes to control your future. Need help? Contact one of our directory attorneys.

Create an account

Create a secure account which is accessible through an easy dashboard you can access any time.

Gather information

You will need a list of your assets, contact information for important people, and any wishes you want to be honored when you’re gone.

Complete your documents

Answer all questions, then we’ll generate your digital documents for downloading, printing, and signing.

Make it legal

Carefully follow the instructions provided in the form, which may include signing your documents in front of witnesses or a notary.

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Plan for your future with confidence

This free guide will help you:

  • Learn the most common estate planning terms

  • Understand the essential estate planning tools

  • Gather critical information with an estate planning checklist

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What’s next to make my North Dakota will valid?

Validate your North Dakota will by following these steps:

Name your personal representative

In North Dakota, you (the “testator”) can name your personal representative in your will. Your personal representative or executor oversees the administration of your estate after your death. They will handle your outstanding debts and distribute your property according to the instructions in your will, in a court-supervised process called probate.

You should choose a personal representative you trust, who is willing to perform these duties. According to North Dakota law, this person must be at least 18 years old. Many people choose a close family member as their personal representative. If you do not choose a personal representative, the probate court will choose one on your behalf.

Choose beneficiaries

Your beneficiaries are the people or entities you choose to receive your assets after your death. Depending on your circumstances, you might choose to name a trust or a charitable organization as a beneficiary.

If you have minor children, you can create a trust for them and leave money to the trust. When you leave your assets in a trust, it allows a trustee to manage the finances on the beneficiary’s behalf. For loved ones with special needs, you might consider setting up a special needs trust. This allows a trustee to manage their finances and assistance payments for them.

List your assets

Your assets include all of your real property and personal property. Real property refers to your real estate, such as your home, investment properties, vacation houses, and land. Personal property covers everything else you own. This includes vehicles, furniture, jewelry, accounts, and all other possessions. If you would like certain possessions to go to certain people, you should state this in your will.

List your non-probate assets

Not all property can be distributed through a will. If you have a life insurance policy, annuities, trusts, or retirement accounts with named beneficiaries, they will pass directly to the beneficiaries after your death. If you would like to change these beneficiary designations, you need to contact the financial institutions that hold them. You should create a separate list of these non-probate assets to assist your personal representative with handling their distribution.

List your debts

Providing a list of your debts can help make things more efficient for your personal representative. When your estate goes into probate, your creditors can make claims for payments out of the value of your estate. Common personal debts include credit cards, personal loans, mortgages, and tax obligations.

Sign and distribute your will

You should sign your will or direct someone to sign it for you. There should be two individual witnesses present. The witnesses should sign the will within a reasonable time after observing your signature. Alternatively, you can acknowledge your signature in front of a notary public instead. After signing your will, you should distribute copies of your will to your personal representative and attorney (if you have one). Keep another copy of your will in a secure place that a trusted person can access.

You may want to speak with a lawyer if you:

  • Have a past divorce, blended family, or other complex family situation
  • Have a high-value estate
  • Own a business
  • Want to create a special needs trust
  • Want legal review of your completed will
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Common questions about North Dakota last will and testaments

If you die without a will (“intestate”) in North Dakota, your property will be distributed according to certain default state laws. These laws can be complex, and they are known as “intestate succession laws” or “intestacy laws.” They start out by distributing your property to your spouse and children. If you do not have a spouse or children, your property goes to other close family members like grandchildren and parents. Next in line to inherit would be more distant relatives.

These laws might not match your family’s needs. To avoid these default state laws, you should create a will. A will allows you to choose how your property will be distributed after your death. With a will, you can also choose a legal guardian for minor children. With FindLaw, you can create a customized will tailored to North Dakota law in under an hour.

There are a few basic requirements to make a will legally valid in North Dakota:

  • Testamentary capacity: You must be an adult of sound mind when you sign your will.
  • In writing: Your will should be in writing.
  • Signature: You must sign your will or direct someone to sign it for you.
  • Witnesses: Two people should witness you as you sign your will. They should then sign the will within a reasonable time thereafter.

Note that under North Dakota law, you may acknowledge your will’s signature to a notary public instead of having two witnesses observe at the time of execution.

No, a will does not have to be notarized to be a valid legal document in North Dakota. But it is a good idea to make your will self-proving, which will require the services of a notary public. When a will is self-proving, the probate court can automatically consider a self-proving will authentic. This relieves your witnesses from having to testify in front of a court, and it may save your family members legal delays and costs down the line.

To make your will self-proving, you and your witnesses need to swear to a self-proving affidavit in front of a notary public. You can find a blank copy of the self-proving affidavit in Title 30 of the North Dakota statutes.

Yes, but you should not rely on a handwritten will. Handwritten, unwitnessed wills are called “holographic” wills. They can be valid even though they are not signed by witnesses.

A holographic will can only be legally valid under North Dakota law if you sign it and write material portions of the will in your own handwriting. The probate court may have difficulty interpreting your handwriting. Your loved ones may need to present extrinsic evidence to show that you intended the handwritten document to be your legal will, which can lead to delays.

To save your loved ones from legal challenges to your will and increased legal fees, a better idea is to sign a printed will in front of two witnesses. With FindLaw, you can create a customized North Dakota will without having to leave home.

Under North Dakota law, the court-supervised process of distributing your assets after your death can be simplified through informal probate.

Informal probate streamlines the administration of your estate. It allows your personal representative to avoid the hassle of probate. Instead, they can distribute your assets outside of a formal court setting. Informal probate may be available if less than three years have passed since the testator’s death and nobody is disputing the validity of the will.

If you believe your will may be eligible for an informal probate process in the future, it’s a good idea to create a self-proving will. You can make your will self-proving by swearing to an affidavit along with your witnesses in front of a notary public. When a will is self-proving, it establishes the authenticity of the will automatically. This makes it less likely that anybody will challenge your will. You should also make sure to destroy or revoke any former wills to avoid confusion.

To change your will, you can either write a new will or create an amendment (known as a “codicil“) to your will. A codicil will be sufficient if you only need to make minor changes. You should sign your codicil with the same witnessing formalities that you used to sign your will. If you need to do a major overhaul of your will, you should create a new will.

To completely revoke your will, you can either create a new will or destroy your old one. If you create a new will, it should be clear that it revokes all prior wills. Physical acts that revoke a will include tearing, canceling, or burning it with the intention to revoke.

Whenever you create a new will or execute a codicil, you should give a copy to your executor and you should let your loved ones know.

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