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 will.

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!

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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 zach@goldleafestateplanning.com 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.

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