A last will and testament, also called a last will or will, is an estate planning tool that gives you the ability to determine who will receive your money and property after you die. You can make a DIY will in Minnesota and learn about frequently asked questions about wills on this page.
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Do I Really Need a Will in Minnesota?
Minnesota law does not require anyone to have a will. Some people may get by without a will, but most should consider creating one. A will allows you to name a guardian for your children and to divide your assets among friends, family, or charities. If you do not have a will, a court will follow Minnesota’s intestate succession laws to determine who will receive the assets you owned at death. These laws give the court a list of relatives who can inherit from you. If you are married, your spouse will receive everything if you do not have descendants or all your descendants are your spouse’s only descendants. If you have descendants with another person or your spouse has descendants with you and another person, your spouse will receive the first $225,000 of your assets plus one-half of the balance. Your descendants will receive the other half of the balance. If you have children but no spouse, your children will inherit from you. If you do not have descendants or a spouse, a court will move to parents, siblings, and then more distant relatives until it finds a relative who can inherit from you. On rare occasions, a court will not find a relative and the deceased person’s estate will pass to the state of Minnesota.
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How To Get a Will in Minnesota
If you want a will, you can hire a lawyer or use a will form from a reliable source. If you use a form, follow these steps: See full process
List everything you own
Before you start making a will, make a list of everything you own, including: Money, Personal property, Real estate, Retirement accounts, Life insurance, policies. Some of these items will pass through your will, but others will not. Life insurance policies and retirement accounts with proper beneficiary designations and items placed in a trust are some of the assets that will not pass through a will and will not go through probate. Items that are owned solely by you are probate assets and will be devised through your will. In a will, you can make specific gifts of money or property. You can also use a separate list of personal property to give specific items to friends and family, which you can update as needed. The list cannot include real estate or money. To use a list of property, your will must refer to a written statement or list that disposes of tangible items of personal property. You can create the list before or after you execute your will. The list must be in your handwriting or signed by you, and it must clearly describe the items and who will receive them.
Choose your devisees
You can devise property or money to family members, friends, charities, or schools. A will is a great opportunity to give something sentimental to a friend or relative or to make a gift of money to someone who cared for you or made a difference in your life. Many people use their will to make a charitable gift, but you should contact a charity if you want to leave it something besides money, such as real estate or stocks. Some charities can only accept certain kinds of gifts.
Choose a personal representative
Being a personal representative is an important job that can be time-consuming. You should choose someone who is willing to serve and who is trustworthy and responsible, and you should select one or two alternates who will serve if your first choice cannot. Your personal representative must be an adult and of sound mind to serve. A personal representative will manage your estate during probate and will have many duties, including: Identifying, collecting, and protecting your assets. Making an inventory of your assets. Notifying your creditors. Paying your estate’s expenses and taxes. Distributing your assets to your devisees as instructed by your Your personal representative can hire attorneys, accountants, and other professionals to help them manage your estate.
Choose a guardian for your children
If you have minor children, your will should designate a guardian for them in your will. If both you and your children’s other parent are deceased, a guardian will raise your children. The guardian will have the authority to make decisions about your children’s health care, education, and well-being. You also should name alternate guardians in case your first choice cannot serve. When choosing your guardian, talk to your candidates and ask if they are willing to raise your children. You also should consider the following questions: Will they be physically able to care for your children? Do they have the time and energy to raise a child? Are they financially secure? Do they have a good relationship with your children? Will your child have to move far away to live with them?
Sign your will form with witnesses
In Minnesota, your will must be in writing, and you must sign it or direct another person to sign it in your presence if you are unable to sign. Two adult witnesses must sign your will after witnessing you sign it, or after you tell them it is your will and signed by you. Your witnesses can inherit from you, but it is wise to avoid using a devisee as a witness to prevent later claims of impropriety. You should consider using a notary public to make a self-proved will. A self-proved will allows a court to accept the will as validly signed without needing to track down your witnesses. To make a self-proved will, you and your witnesses must sign an affidavit attached to the will and have your signatures notarized.
Store your will in a safe place
After your will is executed, store it in a safe place and let your personal representative and other trusted family members or friends know where it is. Common places to store a will are: A safe place in your home. A safe deposit box. Your attorney’s office, if you hire one. If you use a safe deposit box at a bank, confirm with your bank that your personal representative and other designated people will be able to access your safe deposit box after you die. If you ask an attorney to keep your will, find out what the firm’s plans are for storing your will if the firm goes out of business. Finally, you can file your will with your local court for safekeeping. A court will keep your will sealed and confidential.
Review your will regularly
It is important to review your will when you have children or grandchildren, marry, divorce, or have a change in your financial status. Even if you do not have any major life changes, it is still a good idea to look at your will every few years to see if it still expresses your wishes. It also can be helpful to ask an attorney licensed in Minnesota to review your will to see if it needs changes.
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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Minnesota Will FAQ/People Often Ask
A last will and testament, commonly called a will, is a legal document that you can use to plan for the care of your loved ones and distribution of your assets after you die. With a will, you may give property and money to your loved ones or charities, name a guardian for your children, and name a person to manage your estate. When you create a will, you will be known as the testator of the will. Any gift made through your will is called a devise, and the people who receive a devise are called devisees. You also will name a personal representative, sometimes called an executor, to manage and distribute your assets through a court process called probate.
You do not need a lawyer to make a will in Minnesota, but one can be helpful if you have a complex estate or assets. If you feel comfortable using a form, you should be fine filling out an easy-to-use will form online. You also can ask an estate planning attorney licensed in Minnesota to review your form before you execute it. FindLaw is not a law firm, and the forms are not a substitute for the advice or services of an attorney. If you have children with different partners, a child with special needs, or high net worth, you probably should ask an attorney for legal advice. An attorney can discuss your will and whether you need other estate planning documents.
Minnesota lawyers charge a wide range of fees for wills. The cost of a will depends on several factors. Some attorneys will charge an hourly rate for creating a will and other estate planning documents. Many attorneys charge a flat fee for a simple will, and some attorneys offer an estate planning package that includes several documents including a will. If you hire a lawyer, you likely will pay at least a few hundred dollars for a simple will. Contact a few attorneys to find out their fees, what kind of estate planning services they offer, and if they would be a good fit for you.
Some states offer a free statutory will form, but Minnesota does not. You should avoid free will forms because they may not comply with Minnesota law. If you use a form, purchase a will form from a reputable source that tailors it forms to Minnesota law and will revise its forms if Minnesota’s laws change.
In Minnesota, you can amend your will by making a codicil. A codicil is an amendment to a will, and you should only use a codicil if you are making minor changes to your will. If you create a codicil, you must sign it with two witnesses as you would with a will. You can revoke your will if you burn, tear, cancel, obliterate, or destroy your will with the intent to revoke it. If you create a new will that is inconsistent with your current will, it will revoke the current will to the extent it is inconsistent with it. However, it is best to revoke a will by creating a new will that states it revokes previous wills and codicils. Doing so will avoid any confusion about your intent.
Minnesota does not recognize holographic wills. A holographic will is completely in the testator’s handwriting (or the most important portions are in the testator’s handwriting) and is signed only by the testator. In Minnesota, all wills must be signed by two witnesses and the testator. You can handwrite your will if you sign it with witnesses, but it makes little sense to do so when you can use a form, hire an attorney, or type a will.
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