Zach Wiegand

Can you hand-write your own will
in Minnesota? Yes and No. These types of wills are typically known as “holographic
wills”. A holographic will is a will that is written in your own handwriting
that does not need to be witnessed when signed. The thought process behind
permitting holographic wills is that it would be very difficult for someone to
fake your handwriting so precisely that they would be able to forge your entire

Minnesota does not permit
holographic wills. In order to be valid, a will in Minnesota must be witnessed
by two individuals when signed. As such, you could theoretically hand-write your will as long as when you sign
it, two witnesses also sign the document within a reasonable time after
witnessing you sign.

Hand-writing your will is
generally a bad idea. Most non-attorneys are not familiar with the technical
aspects of a will signing. It is almost always advisable to have an attorney
prepare, and help you execute, your will to ensure that it conforms to all
requirements under state law. If you hand-write your will and it is not clear
what your intentions were, it may end up costing your family far more than what
it would have cost you to have your will prepared correctly in the first place.

The Aretha Franklin estate is a
great example of this. Click here
for an article discussing her estate and the three purported hand-written wills
that were found (one of which was under a seat cushion).

Click here
for an article discussing the consequences of failing to have two witnesses
sign a will in Minnesota.

Contact our Burnsville or Lake
Elmo office today to discuss getting your estate plan set up properly by a
Minnesota estate planning attorney!


Zach Wiegand is a Minnesota
estate planning attorney and the owner of Gold Leaf Estate Planning, LLC. Gold
Leaf Estate Planning is an estate planning law firm that also handles probate
and trust administration in Minnesota. We serve the Twin Cities metropolitan
area with a focus on estate planning for clients in Burnsville, Eagan, Savage,
Prior Lake, Lakeville, Apple Valley, Eden Prairie and the South Metro as well
as clients in Woodbury, Lake Elmo, Maplewood, Oakdale, St. Paul and the East
Metro. Our firm has offices in both Burnsville and Woodbury (Lake Elmo). The
firm also handles probate in Dakota County, Washington County, Scott County,
Hennepin County, and Ramsey County and most other counties in the Twin Cities
Metro area. Zach has been named a Minnesota Super Lawyer – Rising Star for 2017,
2018, and 2019, and he is a member of WealthCounsel – a national organization
of estate planning attorneys dedicated to practice excellence. You can contact
Zach via e-mail at or by calling (952)
658-6503. Gold Leaf Estate Planning is located in Burnsville at 3000 County
Road 42 W., Suite 310, Burnsville, MN 55337 and in Woodbury/Lake Elmo at 8653 Eagle Point Boulevard, Lake Elmo, MN 55042.