Having a will is necessary, so your estate can be protected and executed as you wish. That said, if you do not draw up a legal will, a Minnesota court may rule it invalid. If you are looking into drawing up a will or plan your estate, you should be aware of why a court in Minnesota might not honor your wishes in your will. Let’s read on for a few examples.
Conflicts With Minnesota Estate Law
A court will reject a will if it does not conform to Minnesota probate law. For your will to be considered valid, it must follow the statutory requirements for wills laid out by the Minnesota legislature. There are three criteria for a will to be valid in Minnesota, a will:
- Must be in writing.
- Must be signed.
- Must have two witnesses.
While that might seem cut-and-dry, there are a few stipulations for each point.
In Minnesota, a will must be typed or printed to be considered valid in court as handwritten wills are not valid. A court might take a handwritten will from another state if the will is valid in that state, but that is not assured. Additionally, video wills in Minnesota are not valid.
There are three ways someone else can sign the will, and it still be valid. Those are:
- The will was signed in the testator’s name.
- The testator was present.
- The person signing for the testator was directed to do so by the testator.
A conservator can sign a will without meeting those requirements, but their conservator status must be court-ordered or approved. E-signatures and wills are not recognized in Minnesota as valid, even though e-signatures are a valid way of signing other documents.
For a will to be valid, there must be two witnesses physically present. Both must sign the will after witnessing the testator or conservator sign the will, or the testator indicates that an appointed signee was to sign the will.
Additionally, all witnesses must be in person for the signing. Witnessing the signing of the will via video conference is not considered under Minnesota law to be valid. Doing so will result in the will being ruled invalid.
A will is also not valid merely by having one witness sign the will and then having it notarized. There must be a second physical witness present for the testator’s acknowledgment by them signing or indicating to someone to sign, and that person must also sign the will.
Non-Compliance With the Law
Another way a will can be ruled invalid by a court is if it contains provisions that violate the law. In that case, the provisions that call for an action that violates the law will be ruled invalid.
For example, if your will identifies a guardian that is not the biological parent and the biological parent is still alive, the guardianship will not be honored. A biological parent has custody and guardianship rights that are recognized by law, and those laws do not become invalid just because the testator passes away.
The only way a guardian will get custody of a child over a biological parent is if that parent is ruled by a court to be unfit to have custody of said child. If your will says otherwise, the court will ignore the will and give the child to the biological parent.
A third way a court may rule your will invalid is if you do not have “testamentary capacity.” Testamentary capacity means that you were capable mentally at the point you drew up the will and signed it, understood the decisions you were making, and approved them. A key factor in determining testamentary capacity is your mental acuity at the time of the signing.
If a court rules you as lacking testamentary capacity, the court will rule your will invalid, which will be managed per the intestacy laws.
Discuss Your Will With an Expert
You need a will to ensure your estate plan is executed properly. You must, though, adhere to Minnesota law or a court will rule your will invalid.
If you want to draw up a legal will, you should discuss your options with an experienced attorney. Contact CJB Law today to get started.