A Will must be in writing, signed by the testator and by two witnesses, who both sign as witnesses within a prescribed time. If the testator cannot physically sign his name he may direct another party to do so, but this should be avoided whenever possible. The testator must be at least eighteen years of age.
In Minnesota, an individual generally competent to be a witness may act as a witness to a Will. A witness’s signature serves to help authenticate the Will because the witness can later swear in Court that it is his signature on the Will, and he did see the Will. Generally, it is recommended that a witness should not be a named beneficiary of the decedent testator. That is the general--and most practical--rule. However, a Will signed by a beneficiary can be held valid; but a will witnessed by a beneficiary could be subject to challenges that might not otherwise exist. If a Will’s authenticity is unchallenged, it will likely go through probate more quickly, and much less expensively.
Authentication by "Self-proven Wills":
A self-proven Will can expedite the probate process.To self-prove a Will the testator and the witnesses must swear in an affidavit, before an authority qualified to administer an oath, to the authenticity of the Will. The affidavit should be part of the Will or attached to it. Witnesses to a self-proven Will may not be required to later testify as to the Will's authenticity because the court will likely accept
a self-proven Will as authentic.
A holographic Will is a Will that is entirely handwritten. It should only be utilized in emergencies, and it is not valid unless it meets certain criteria.
DO NOT BE DECEIVED:
Writing a Will is far too important a task to leave to someone other than an attorney. Living Wills, Power of Attorney, Health Care Directives, and the establishment of Testamentary Trusts, are all components, or appropriate appendages, of the modern Will.These items are tools to build peace of mind and assurance that a person's assets, liabilities, and final wishes are handled with as little stress to family members as possible.
An improperly assembled Will can cause enormous and costly problems, that are not detectable until after the testator has passed.
Each person's life is different. Each person's Will is different; one size--does not--fit all. Speak to an attorney before assembling a Will. You will likely be surprised at how little an attorney drafted Will costs, compared to the worry it relieves.
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