This is the "Home" page of the "Wills, Trusts and Estate Planning" guide.
Alternate Page for Screenreader Users
Skip to Page Navigation
Skip to Page Content

Wills, Trusts and Estate Planning  

Last Updated: May 5, 2016 URL: Print Guide RSS Updates

Home Print Page

Information from the Attorney General

Living Trusts

  • What is a trust?
  • What are the basic types of trusts?
  • What are the pros and cons of a revocable living trust?
  • How do I establish a trust?
  • What is the role of the trustee?

Power Of Attorney

  • What is a power of attorney?
  • What is a durable power of attorney?
  •  When should I use a power of attorney?
  • How much power does a power of attorney have?
  • How do I create a power of attorney?
  • What happens if I don't have a durable power of attorney for finances?
  • When does a power of attorney end?

Health Care Directive

  • What is a health care directive?
  • What might I need a health care directive for?
  • How do I prepare a health care directive?
  • What should I include in my health care directive?
  • What are the limits on my health care directive?
  • How do I change my health care directive?

Planning A Funeral

  • How should I plan my funeral?
  • How should I pay for my funeral?
  • What safeguards exist for consumers who pay in advance


  • What is probate?
  • When is probate necessary?
  • What items are not subject to probate?
  • How do I probate an estate?
  • How will the estate be distributed to heirs?
  • What taxes must be paid?

Source: Minnesota Attorney General's Office


Defining Wills

What is a will?

A will is a legal document that allows you to transfer your property at your death.

A will is a simple way to ensure that your money, property and personal belongings will be distributed as you wish after your death. A will also allows you to have full use of your property while you are alive.

Does everyone need a will?

The law does not require that you have a will. However, a will is a useful tool that provides you with the ability to control how your estate will be divided.

If you die without a will, Minnesota’s inheritance laws will control how your estate will be divided. Your property will go to your closest relatives. If you have a spouse and children, the property will go to them by a set formula. If not, the property will descend in the following order: grandchildren, parents, brothers and sisters, or more distant relatives if there are no closer ones. A table of Minnesota Heirship is included among the sample forms at the back of this booklet.

You may not need a will if you have made provisions so that your assets will pass without one, for example, by establishing trusts, life insurance policies with named beneficiaries, or joint property interests such as real estate or bank accounts.

A will is necessary if you want to leave property to a friend or a charity, to give certain items to certain people, or to leave someone out who would otherwise inherit from you. Also, you may wish to appoint a specific person to handle your estate. Thus, often it is best to write a will so your intentions can be met.

What rules apply to wills?

In Minnesota, the following rules apply to wills:

  • You must be at least 18 years old and of sound mind to make a will;
  • The will must be in writing;
  • The will must be signed by you, by another person at your direction and in your presence, or by your conservator pursuant to a court order;
  • The will must be witnessed by at least two people, both of whom must also sign the will; and
  • You must intend for the document to operate as a will. What is a self-proved will?

Source:  Minnesota Attorney General's Office


Minnesota Living Wills and Health Care Directives

Minnesota Living Wills and Health Care Directives Answers These Common Questions:

  • Why do you need a living will and power of attorney for health care (called a health care directive in Minnesota)?
  • What are health care forms called in Minnesota?
  • Who makes Health care decisions in for me in Minnesota?
  • What else do I need to know about choosing a health care agent in Minnesota?

Source:  NOLO



As librarians and not lawyers, we can suggest resources but cannot give legal advice (such as which form to file), or legal opinions, (such as how a statute might apply to particular facts).  To do so could be considered the unauthorized practice of law.  Even though we try to suggest materials that will be of help, further research is usually required to find a complete and correct answer.  For many questions, the best answer may be to consult an attorney.

Contact Us

Profile Image
Minnesota State Law Library
Logo - FacebookLogo - Twitter
Contact Info
Minnesota Judicial Center
25 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
Saint Paul, MN 55155
Main # 651-297-7651
TTY 1-800-627-3529
Send Email
Library Hours:
8:30am - 5:00pm, M-F

Featured Book

Cover Art
Plan Your Estate - Denis Clifford
Call Number: KF750.Z9 C59 2014
Publication Date: 2014


Loading  Loading...