What Makes a Valid Will in Minnesota? [updated]

Valid Will

Is your will valid in Minnesota? Wow, this is a loaded question and it really depends on the situation. For one, is the document about a person who is alive or dead? Unfortunately, this matters. In fact, it matters a lot. Not only do beneficiaries care, the estate will care too.

Valid Will
Valid Will in Minnesota

Likely though, if a family is asking whether a will is valid, there is something wrong. In this case, we turn to the rules. Here in Minnesota, the rules about the construction of a will start under Chapter 524. Within this chapter, you can find all kinds of detail, including:

  • Who can make a final testament,
  • Who can be a witness, and
  • The scope of document construction.

Again though, the first question is never whether a will is valid. Instead, the first question is trying to determine if we are talking about a testator who is living or a testator who is dead. From here, the analysis of the validity of a will can move forward.

Other Will Issues to Think About

Other Will Issues

Assuming the will is valid, some of my favorite parts of the drafting process are antilapse conditions. In other words, a gift with conditions.

The reason this issue always seems to come up has more to do with the original question: is the document valid? Well, any person asking about the validity of a final testament might also want to know whether the distribution of a gift was conditional. Certainly though, there are other estate planning tools to assist with the gifting of tangible property.

On the other hand, if the document was created by a person who is still alive, then perhaps the bigger question is whether time is of the essence or capacity might be of concern. Again, it depends.

Finally, forget about trying to determine whether the will is valid. Unfortunately, this is type of question is far more complicated than yes or no. In other words, engaging an attorney is going to be more important than rhetorically trying to determine whether the document you are looking at is up to snuff.

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Estate Attorney Jasper Berg