Create Your North Dakota Last Will and Testament
FindLaw provides North Dakota last will and testament forms that you can complete from the comfort of home. Our guided process moves you through a few simple steps to build your North Dakota will in under an hour.
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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.
North Dakota Will Options for Every Family
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How It Works
It only takes minutes to control your future. Need help? Contact one of our directory attorneys.
Answer Key Questions
In order to get started, you need a list of your assets, accounts, contact information of important people, and wishes for the future.
Create an Account
Creating an account is easy, quick, and secure. Save your information as you go and return when you have time.
We Create Your Document
We’ve done the hard part by researching and developing your state-specific form. You simply need to follow our clear process.
Print, Sign & Make It Legal
Print and sign your documents according to the instructions. This may include signing in front of witnesses or a notary.
What’s Next To Make My North Dakota Will Valid?
Validate your North Dakota will by following these steps: See full process
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.
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
Ready to get started on your North Dakota will? It’s free to start.Create My Will
FAQs About North Dakota Wills
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.
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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