Is it Legal to Handwrite a Will in Minnesota if You Get it Notarized?

by A.L. Kennedy

    A handwritten will may also be known as a holographic or olographic will. Some states recognize a handwritten will as valid even if it is not witnessed. In Minnesota, however, all wills must be in writing, signed by the testator and witnessed by at least two people who meet the minimum requirements for witnesses under Minnesota law. Without two witnesses, a handwritten will is not valid even if it is notarized, according to the Minnesota Probate Code.

    Format

    Minnesota law requires wills to be in writing, according to Minnesota Statutes Section 524.2-502. A Minnesota will may be typed or handwritten. The will must also be made by someone who is at least 18 years old, and has the mental capacity to understand that he has made a will and to whom it leaves his property.

    Signing and Witnessing

    The will must be signed by the testator, or person who made the will. If the testator is unable to sign his own will, he may instruct someone else to sign for him in his conscious presence, according to Minnesota Statues Section 524.2-502. Each of the two witnesses must sign the will after having either seen the testator sign it or witnessed the testator acknowledging that he had signed his own will. No Minnesota will is valid -- even if it is notarized -- without valid signatures from at least two witnesses.

    Notarization

    Having a Minnesota will notarized is not necessary to make the will valid, nor is it enough to make the will valid. However, a notarization is useful if you want to make a self-proving will. According to Minnesota Statutes Section 524.2-504, a will that includes notarized and sworn statements from the testator and witnesses is "self-proving," meaning that the probate court will accept it without requiring the witnesses to testify that they signed the will.

    Exception

    Minnesota does not have an exception for holographic wills, meaning that a handwritten will made in the state must still be witnessed to be valid. However, a Minnesota probate court may recognize a handwritten will that is not witnessed, if that will was made in a state that accepts holographic wills, according to Minnesota Statutes Section 524.2-506. In order to be valid, the out-of-state will must have been legally made under the laws in effect at the time it was made in the other state. If that other state required a handwritten will to be notarized, a Minnesota probate court will uphold that requirement.

    About the Author

    A.L. Kennedy is a professional grant writer and nonprofit consultant. She has been writing and editing for various nonfiction publications since 2004. Her work includes various articles on nonprofit law, human resources, health and fitness for both print and online publications. She has a Bachelor of Arts from the University of South Alabama.

    Photo Credits

    • Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images