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What requirements must be met to execute a will?

The New Year is here and people across Minnesota are making their New Year's resolutions for 2018. While some may be looking to change a personal habit in their lives or to meet certain items on their "bucket list," in general, most New Year's resolutions deal with the here and now. However, one thing they may not think of, but that could affect not only their future, but the futures of their loved ones is estate planning.

Through estate planning, people can execute documents cementing not only who they want to inherit their property, but also draft crucial documents stating how they want their health and finances to be taken care of should they become incapacitated. This may seem like a tall, confusing order for those who have never taken any steps towards estate planning. So, in 2018, they may want to start with the basics: executing a will.

Of course, to draft a will that is valid and enforceable,there are certain statutory requirements that must be met under Minnesota law. First, a will in Minnesota must be written, not oral. Second, the will must bear the signature of the person executing it (known as the "testator"). If the testator is unable to sign the will, then another person may sign it on the testator's behalf if the testator is conscious and asks the person to do so in their presence. Finally, a valid will must bear the signatures of two or more witnesses who saw either the testator sign the will or saw the testator permit another person to sign the will, as allowed by statute.

As this shows, there are requirements that must be met if a person in Minnesota wants to execute a legally binding will. The requirements are not onerous, but, if a person wishes to execute a will, they may want to do so with the assistance of an attorney familiar with wills and trusts to ensure the proper formalities are met.

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