Minnesota Last Will and Testament Law

Wills and Estates – Last Will and Testament Law – Minnesota

Note:  This summary is not intended to be an all inclusive discussion of the law of wills in Minnesota, but does contain basic and other provisions.  It does not include a discussion of hand written wills or wills where the testator cannot sign his or her name.

Who may make a will: Any person 18 or more years of age who is of sound mind may make a will. 524.2-501

Execution; witnessed wills: A will must be in writing, signed by the testator and signed by at least two individuals after witnessing the signing of the will by the testator.  524.2-502

Self-proved will: A will may be contemporaneously executed, attested, and made self-proved, by acknowledgment thereof by the testator and affidavits of the witnesses, each made before an officer authorized to administer oaths under the laws of the state in which execution occurs and evidenced by the officer’s certificate, under official seal, by appropriate form. 524.2-504

Who may witness: An individual generally competent to be a witness may act as a witness to a will.  The signing of a will by an interested witness does not invalidate the will or any provision of it. 524.2-505

Choice of law as to execution: A written will is valid if executed in compliance with Minnesota law or if its execution complies with the law at the time of execution of the place where the will is executed, or of the law of the place where at the time of execution or at the time of death the testator is domiciled, has a place of abode or is a national. 524.2-506

Revocation by writing or by act:
(a) A will or any part thereof is revoked:

(1) by executing a subsequent will that revokes the previous will or part expressly or by inconsistency; or
(2) by performing a revocatory act on the will, if the testator performed the act with the intent and for the purpose of revoking the will or part or if another individual performed the act in the testator’s conscious presence and by the testator’s direction.  For purposes of this clause, “revocatory act on the will” includes burning, tearing, canceling, obliterating, or destroying the will or any part of it.  A burning, tearing, or canceling may be a “revocatory act on the will,” whether or not the burn, tear, or cancellation touched any of the words on the will. 524.2-507

Revocation by changes of circumstances:Except as provided in sections 524.2-803 and 524.2-804, a change of circumstances does not revoke a will or any part of it. 524.2-508

Revival of revoked will: If a subsequent will that wholly/partially revoked a previous will is thereafter revoked by a revocatory act under section 524.2-507, paragraph (a), clause (2), the previous will remains revoked wholly/partially unless it is revived. The previous will is revived if it is evident from the circumstances of the revocation of the subsequent will or from the testator’s contemporary or subsequent declarations that the testator intended the previous will to take effect as executed. If a subsequent will that revoked a previous will in whole or in part is thereafter revoked by another later will, the previous will remains revoked in whole or in part, unless it or its revoked part is revived.524.2-509

Deposit of will with court in testator’s lifetime: A will may be deposited by the testator or the testator’s agent with any court for safekeeping, under rules of the court. The will must be sealed and kept confidential. During the testator’s lifetime, a deposited will must be delivered only to the testator or to a person authorized in writing signed by the testator to receive the will. A conservator or guardian may be allowed to examine a deposited will of a protected testator under procedures designed to maintain the confidential character of the document to the extent possible, and to ensure that it will be resealed and kept on deposit after the examination. Upon being informed of the testator’s death, the court may deliver the will to the appropriate court. 524.2-515

Penalty clause for contest: A provision in a will purporting to penalize an interested person for contesting the will or instituting other proceedings relating to the estate is unenforceable if probable cause exists for instituting proceedings. 524.2-517

Contracts concerning succession: A contract to make a will or devise, or not to revoke a will or devise, or to die intestate, if executed after January 1, 1976, may be established only by
(i) provisions of a will stating material provisions of the contract,
(ii) an express reference in a will to a contract and extrinsic evidence proving the terms of the contract, or
(iii) a writing signed by the decedent evidencing the contract. The execution of a joint will or mutual wills does not create a presumption of a contract not to revoke the will or wills. 524.2-514


Inside Minnesota Last Will and Testament Law