Is My Will Valid in Other States?

Gold Leaf Estate Planning, LLC

POSTED ON: January 29, 2021

Can You Handwrite Your Own Will in Minnesota

Is Your Will or Trust Still Valid If You Move To Another State?

If you have an estate plan, what happens if you move out of state? Clients often ask: Is my estate plan still valid if I move to another state? The short answer is yes, your estate plan should likely still be valid in whatever state you move to. There may be good reasons, however, to update your documents, but they should still be valid.

Reciprocity for Wills Signed in Another State

Many states have laws that allow for Wills or Trusts to be recognized in their jurisdiction, so long as the Will or Trust was validly executed in the state in which it was signed. This means that, as long as your documents were validly executed in Minnesota, then they should be recognized in what ever state you move to, provided that state has the above-mentioned “reciprocity”.

In Minnesota, that law is found at Minn. Stat. § 524.2-506, which provides:

A written will is valid if executed in compliance with section 524.2-502 or if its execution complies with the law at the time of execution of the place where the will is executed, or of the law of the place where at the time of execution or at the time of death the testator is domiciled, has a place of abode or is a national.

What that means is if you have a will from another state and you move to Minnesota, your will is valid if it was validly executed in the state in which you lived.

So what happens if you want to move from Minnesota to another state? In order to take advantage of the new state’s reciprocity (you should always check with a local attorney to ensure the new state has reciprocity), the will that you execute here in Minnesota must be validly executed.

What are the Requirements for a Validly Executed Will in Minnesota?

In order to be validly executed in Minnesota, a will must comply with Minn. Stat. § 524.2-502, which provides:

Except as provided in sections 524.2-506 and 524.2-513, a will must be:

(1) in writing;

(2) signed by the testator or in the testator’s name by some other individual in the testator’s conscious presence and by the testator’s direction or signed by the testator’s conservator pursuant to a court order under section 524.5-411; and

(3) signed by at least two individuals, each of whom signed within a reasonable time after witnessing either the signing of the will as described in clause (2) or the testator’s acknowledgment of that signature or acknowledgment of the will.

Common Questions about Executing a Will Properly in Minnesota

There are some folks who attempt DIY (do it yourself) estate planning. This can lead to problems with the execution of your will. The above statutes raise questions that non-lawyers are typically not able to answer. Questions like, should you sign each page of your will? (No, that isn’t required.) Do the witnesses need to be disinterested parties? (No, but they probably should be disinterested so that other interested parties can’t later challenge your will.) There are likely many aspects to a will or trust signing that you haven’t considered. In estate planning, you get what you pay for. You should work with a licensed Minnesota attorney who focuses their practice on estate planning and estate administration to ensure that your documents are validly executed.

How to determine whether your Minnesota Will is going to be valid when you move to another state:

If you want to make sure that your documents are valid if you move to another state, the first step is to make sure that your document was validly executed in Minnesota. The next step is to determine if the new state you are moving to has “reciprocity” as noted above. The final step is to speak with a local attorney in the new state you are moving to in order to determine whether your will is valid.

If you are moving from another state to Minnesota and you would like to determine whether your estate plan is valid here, or if there are other reasons you may want to update your plan for local laws, contact our office today to schedule some time for us to review your out of state estate planning documents. Click here to schedule an appointment today or call our office at (952) 658-6503.


Zach Wiegand is a Minnesota probate attorney and 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, Farmington, Rosemount, 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 Super Lawyer – Rising Star for the past 5 years in a row (2017-2021), an award reserved for less than 2.5% of Minnesota attorneys each year. In addition, Zach is a member of the Society of Financial Service Professionals, the Twin Cities Estate Planning Council, and 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.