Understanding Your Last Will and Testament in Minnesota: A Simple Guide
By Mike Rogers, AIF®, Founder and President of 360 Financial
Mike Rogers is a fiduciary financial advisor with over 30 years of experience in the financial services industry as an investment advisor and financial planner. He founded 360 Financial in 1995 and holds series 7 and 63 security registrations with LPL Financial.
Last Will and Testament Minnesota
This post will give you a brief overview of what you need to know about your last will and testament in Minnesota.
Table of Contents:
- Basics of Minnesota Wills
- The Role of Executors in Minnesota Wills
- Minnesota Inheritance Laws
- How to Include Minor Children in Your Will in Minnesota
- The Importance of Witnesses in Minnesota Will Creation
- Disputing a Will in Minnesota: Grounds and Processes
- Minnesota Estate Taxes and Wills
- Including Digital Assets in Wills
- Attorney’s Role in Drafting Wills
- Changing or Revoking Wills in Minnesota
- Checklist for Creating Your Last Will and Testament in Minnesota
- Financial Planning and Estate Planning in Minnesota
Basics of Minnesota Wills
A will is a legal document that outlines how you’d like your assets distributed after your death. In Minnesota, anyone who is at least 18 years old and of sound mind can make a will. To be valid, it must be in writing, signed by you or another person at your direction and in your presence, and witnessed by two people.
The Role of Executors in Minnesota Wills
The executor is the person you nominate in your will to carry out your wishes after your death. Their responsibilities include collecting your assets, paying off debts and taxes, and distributing the remainder of your estate as you specified in your will.
If you need help with estate planning in Minnesota, we recommend you speak with your financial advisor and estate planning attorney, particularly if you have a complex situation.
Minnesota Inheritance Laws
If you die without a will in Minnesota, your assets will be distributed according to state intestacy laws. Generally, your spouse and children will inherit your estate. If you’re unmarried and childless, your parents or siblings may inherit. (+)
If you die without a will, MN courts will be tasked with determining who receives your assets upon your death.
How to Include Minor Children in Your Will in Minnesota
In Minnesota, you can’t directly leave assets to children under 18. You can, however, appoint a guardian and establish a trust in your will to hold and manage the assets until they reach adulthood. (+)
The Importance of Witnesses in Minnesota Will Creation
In Minnesota, your will must be witnessed by two people. They must see you sign your will or be told by you that it’s your signature. The witnesses must be “disinterested,” meaning they’re not beneficiaries in the will.
To ensure that your will is set up properly and legally, work with an Estate Attorney to complete it.
Disputing a Will in Minnesota: Grounds and Processes
Wills can be disputed on several grounds, such as the testator not being of sound mind or the presence of undue influence or fraud. Disputes must be filed in probate court after the will is admitted to probate. (+)
When you list a beneficiary on a retirement account, that asset will skip the probate process. This is also true of listing transfer on death instructions on a brokerage account and a payable on death instructions on a bank account. In addition to a will, consider listing these beneficiaries to have the advantage of skipping probate.
Minnesota Estate Taxes and Wills
Minnesota has an estate tax, and it applies to estates valued over a certain amount. It’s important to consider potential estate taxes when creating your will and planning your estate. The estate tax rate in Minnesota ranges from 13% to 16%, and as of 2022, it applies to estates worth more than $3 million.
If you have an estate that is currently (or is expected to be) worth more than $3,000,000, speak with a financial advisor and estate attorney about how to best structure the inheritance.
Including Digital Assets in Wills
Digital assets like social media accounts, emails, and digital currencies can be included in your will. You should provide detailed instructions about what should happen to these assets after your death.
It is a best practice to keep the information about how to access these accounts in a secure place, where trusted individuals can access them after your death.
Attorney’s Role in Drafting Wills
An attorney can provide valuable guidance when drafting your will. They can ensure your will complies with Minnesota laws, advise on complex situations, and help prevent disputes after your death.
A financial advisor can be helpful in guiding the conversation about your legacy and helping with your estate attorney. When you are creating the legal documents that are part of your estate plan (wills, trusts, power of attorneys and healthcare directives), you will want to consult with an attorney.
Changing or Revoking Wills in Minnesota
You can change or revoke your will at any time while you’re of sound mind. Changes can be made by creating a new will or making a codicil, which is an amendment to your will. To revoke a will, you can create a new will that states that it revokes the old one or physically destroy the old will.
While this article should give you a basic understanding of the will-making process in Minnesota, it’s always advisable to consult with an attorney when creating, amending, or revoking a will to ensure all legal requirements are met.
Checklist for Creating Your Last Will and Testament in Minnesota
1 Determine your assets:
List all your assets, including real estate, bank accounts, investments, retirement funds, insurance policies, and personal property like jewelry or vehicles.
2 Identify your digital assets:
Include digital assets like social media accounts, digital currencies, and digital copyrights.
3 Decide on beneficiaries:
Your beneficiaries can be individuals, charities, or organizations.
4 Select a personal representative:
Choose a trustworthy person to execute your will. You can also use a professional executor.
5 Appoint a guardian (if applicable):
If you have minor children, decide who will care for them if you die while they’re still minors. You can also choose contingent guardians if your primary choice is unable or unwilling to fulfill the role for some reason.
6 Set up a trust for minor children (if applicable):
If you have minor children or grandchildren, consider setting up a trust for their inheritance.
7 Understand Minnesota Inheritance Laws:
Ensure your will complies with Minnesota’s inheritance laws, especially if you’re disinheriting a spouse or child.
8 Consult an attorney:
It’s very important to consult with an attorney if you’re creating a will with any level of complexity. You want to ensure all legal requirements are met and your wishes will be accurately represented.
9 Sign your will:
Sign your will in front of two disinterested witnesses who must also sign the document.
10 Secure your will:
Keep your will in a safe place and let your executor know where it is.
11 Review and update regularly:
Life changes or significant changes to your assets may mean it’s time to update your will. Regularly review and update your will to ensure it accurately reflects your current wishes.
Remember, while you can create a will independently, working with an attorney can provide you with a more thorough and legally sound document.
Financial Planning and Estate Planning in Minnesota
360 Financial is one of Minnesota’s best independent wealth management firms. We work with clients in Minnesota and across the US. If you’d like to work with a team that always puts your best interests first and is committed to helping you create a lasting legacy, please get in touch.
About the Author
Mike Rogers is the founder and president of Minnesota-based financial advisory firm 360 Financial. As the founder, Mike’s priority is that 360 Financial always serves the clients with empathy, integrity, and honesty. This customized, client-centric approach allows the firm to help clients decipher between the things they can control and what truly matters.
In other words, Mike understands that money is not the end-all-be-all; instead, it’s the “how” that fuels the “why” to the question: “What’s important to you?”
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This information is not intended to be a substitute for specific individualized tax or legal advice. We suggest that you discuss your specific situation with a qualified tax or legal advisor.
The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual.