How To Make A Will In Minnesota And Why It Is Important

A Minnesota Will allows you to declare how your assets will be distributed after death. In the absence of a will, your wealth is distributed by Minnesota law. Learn more about the laws that affect wills in Minnesota, how to make a valid will, how to change it, if you need to notarize your will and more.

What Is A Will?

You can protect your family and your property with a will. You can use a will to give your property to people or organizations and name a personal guardian to take care of your minor children. You can also call a trusted person to take care of any property you leave to minor children, and you can name a personal representative to ensure your wishes are fulfilled.

A testament in Minnesota lets you give money to charity, set up a trust for any person, or name a legal guardian for children too young to make decisions for themselves.

What Happens If You Have No Will At Death?

In Minnesota, property owned by more than one person goes to the person still alive. The people who are named beneficiaries get the money from life insurance. Any property that is left over is given out according to state law. The spouse and children or next of kin get a share of the estate based on how close they are to the deceased.

The problem with the state plan is that it is hard to understand and can't be changed. It doesn't change no matter how your family or financial situation changes. The state plan may not give the surviving spouse enough money. You can only avoid these problems if you make your own will and don't rely on the state's intestate law.

Do You Need A Lawyer To Make A Will In Minnesota?

You can write your own will if you are old enough and of sound mind. But a will written by an attorney is much more likely to include all the provisions of estate law, making sure that your wishes are legally written down. You can also fail with a will you got from the Internet or software. 

If you make a mistake when making a will on your own, it could cost you a lot more in taxes or cause your assets to go to people you didn't want them to. Thus, having an attorney write your will is a much better option.

How To Make A Will In Minnesota

1. Make a list of all your assets and beneficiaries

The list may include your investments like mutual funds, bonds, life insurance policies, and annuities. It may also have your savings and retirement accounts and your properties, such as real estate, vehicles, jewelry, and family heirlooms. 

The most important part of your will is naming who will get your assets when you die. A beneficiary can be someone in your family or circle of friends, a business, or even a charity. You can choose one or multiple beneficiaries to distribute your wealth.

2. If you have minor children, choose guardians for them

If something happens to you, choose who you would want to take care of your kids. You should talk with them to get their consent before naming them in your will.

Make sure to adequately explain your choice in the will if the chosen guardian isn't an immediate family. This is because even after you name the guardian in the will, the court may be inclined to choose someone else they believe to be in the child’s best interest.

3. Name an executor for your will

An executor is a person who carries out the terms of your will. To avoid discrepancies, take permission from this person if they're up to the task. Make sure to provide them with an updated version of your will at all times.

4. Update your will periodically

Set a yearly calendar reminder to revisit your will if any modification is required. Events that might warrant changes may include marriages, divorces, adoptions, births, deaths, changes in income, out-of-state movements, etc.

Naming An Executor In Your Will

One of the most important reasons to write a will is to name an executor, or what people in Minnesota call a "personal representative." Your executor's job after you die is to keep your property safe until all your debts and taxes are paid. Then, they will give what's left to the people entitled to it.

The executor of an estate will be the primary person in charge of carrying out the terms of your will. Ask this person if they can do the job before naming them your executor to avoid surprises or problems. You might want to give them a copy of the will when it's done and ensure they get a new copy if you make any changes.

The person chosen must be at least 18 years old and of sound mind. Minnesota doesn't have any special rules for executors who live outside of the state. It's best to name an executor who lives close to you. You may have to take care of everyday things for weeks, months, or even longer.

Do You Need to Have Your Will Notarized In Minnesota?

But in Minnesota, you can make your will "self-proving." You'll need to go to a notary if you want to do that. When a will is self-proving, the court can accept it without calling the witnesses, speeding up the probate process.

For your will to be self-proving, you and your witnesses must appear before a notary and sign an affidavit attesting to your identities and stating that you were aware you were making a will.

Changing Or Revoking Your Minnesota Will

If you need to make changes to your will, you can add a codicil with your signature and the signatures of witnesses. You can also rewrite your will from scratch if you need to change it in a big way.

A Minnesota will be canceled by making a new will or by burning, tearing, canceling, erasing, or destroying the document. This can be done by you or by someone else, under your direction and presence.

If you and your spouse divorce Minnesota law says that any part of your will that gives your spouse property or names your spouse as your executor has a disability.

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