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South Dakota Last Will and Testament

South Dakota Last Will and Testament


Jennifer Mcgee


Updated on  

January 3, 2023

7 mins


Working on your last will and testament would be a prudent step, even if you're not in any immediate danger. This legal instrument would allow the probate court to know your wishes about your estate, children's guardians, and executor. The last will would be your way of providing for your loved ones, even after you pass away. That's why you should get to work and create a South Dakota last will and testament for your estate now.

All the states have varying requirements to make a valid and enforceable last will. If you live in South Dakota, here's what you should follow.

Requirements for a South Dakota Last Will and Testament 

  • Written will: A South Dakota last will and testament must be in a paper format to be legal. It can't be audio, video, or other digital file forms. South Dakota allows self-written or holographic wills.
  • Must be of at least 18 age 
  • Sound mind and memory: The testator for a South Dakota last will must understand the will procedure, nature of their estate, and beneficiaries. For their last will to be valid, they must have a sound mind and memory.
  • Signed by the testator: To make it legally enforceable, you must sign your South Dakota last will and testament before any eligible two witnesses.
  • Signed by the two witnesses: You must have at least two eligible witnesses for the will. They need to acknowledge and sign the will before the testator. 
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“Should have done this before, had made it up to be really hard in my head. This was super easy!”

Who can be the witnesses for a South Dakota Last Will and Testament? 

Your witnesses for a South Dakota last will must follow these conditions:

  • South Dakota allows anyone competent to become a witness. 
  • They should be able to testify about what they saw and the will-making process.
  • It's better not to select beneficiaries as witnesses as the will might be easily challenged. However, you can choose beneficiaries as witnesses in South Dakota. 

South Dakota rules for a personal representative or an executor 

Choosing an executor for your South Dakota last will would be better than leaving it to uncertainty. However, an executor should fulfill these conditions to be eligible for the role:

  1. Must be at least 18 or above
  2. Capable of completing the job, i.e., of a sound mind.
  3. South Dakota doesn't restrict people convicted of a felony from being executors.
  4. South Dakota allows you to choose someone out of state as your executor. 

Last will and Testament Notarization in South Dakota 

There's no need to notarize your South Dakota last will and testament. However, you could add a self-proving affidavit to the last will to speed up the probate process. Here's how you could do that:

  • Choose a notary public to make a self-proving affidavit for the South Dakota last will and testament.
  • You and the two eligible witnesses must go to the notary and sign the affidavit, stating who you are and that you know you're signing a will.
South Dakota Last Will and Testament

South Dakota Last Will Revocation 

You could follow any of the following methods to revoke your South Dakota last will and testament:

  • Destroy your South Dakota last will and testament by tearing, burning, obliterating, and shredding.
  • Instructing someone to destroy the last will before you and two witnesses 
  • Making a new legal will that revokes any part or the entire previous will.

What if you have more than one South Dakota will?

If it's not clear whether your new South Dakota will revoke the old one, the state will follow these rules:

  • It'll replace the old will if the new one has varying or contradictory terms to your previous South Dakota will.
  • The probate court assumes you wanted to revoke the previous will if the new one disposes of your entire estate.
  • If the new will doesn't dispose of the entire estate, it would be treated as a supplement to the old South Dakota will.

South Dakota Last Will Amendment Rules 

If you wish to make some minor and simple changes to your South Dakota last will, you can do it through a Codicil. It will allow you to introduce changes to your existing will and avoid revoking it.

However, you must follow the same guidelines to make a legal codicil as for an original will. If you want to make multiple amendments, it's better to make a new will that revokes the previous one.

South Dakota rules for divorce after making your last will

  • South Dakota law revokes any gift you leave to your ex-spouse.
  • Revokes any language about the appointment of your ex-spouse as the trustee or executor 
  • However, the provisions will be followed if you state otherwise in your South Dakota will or remarry your ex.
  • These provisions also apply to any children or relatives of your spouse. 

What happens if you don't have a will in South Dakota?


What happens 

Has children, no spouse 

Children inherit everything 

Has parents, no children, no spouse 

Parents inherit everything 

Has a spouse, no children

Spouse inherits everything 

Has siblings, no parents, no children, no spouse 

Siblings inherit everything 

Has a spouse and children (Children you share with that spouse)

Spouse inherits everything 

Has a spouse and children (Children you share with someone else)

Spouse gets the first $100,000 of your estate and half of the balance 

Your children inherit the balance  

Last Will and Testament South Dakota Free Template

You can quickly create a simple estate plan by downloading a Last Will and Testament South Dakota free template. It will be the best option if you don't have a large estate or complicated finances. You could check out the template and follow the necessary requirements to make your new South Dakota last will and testament. Once you go through the details and follow the required steps:

  1. Connect on TrulyWill and create your account.
  2. Discuss any issues or complications about your finances and personal relationships with our attorneys.
  3. Sign or notarize the document, depending on your state requirements. 

This template and sample last will and testament would allow you to examine what your will would look like. You can change the will template depending on your personal preferences for estate distribution. 

Some instances where it would be prudent to consult our experts before finalizing your will would be when you have a high net worth or complicated family and personal relationships. We also provide additional services for those unique requests:

  • Online expert support: You can connect with our experts online and clear your doubts.
  • Attorney support: For some specific and unique requirements, we also offer additional attorney support services for your will and trust.

If you're facing any of these issues, it's essential to consult an expert before proceeding. They could personally help you out with any doubts and create a solid and legally enforceable South Dakota last will and testament. 

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Frequently Asked Questions

What would happen to my estate if I had no immediate family?

If you create a will before you pass away, your estate will go to the beneficiaries you've mentioned. However, if you die without a will, it could go to your extended family or even the state if there are no relatives.

What would it cost me to make a will?

Depending on your location and estate, the cost varies between $500 to $1000 if you hire a lawyer. However, you can use the TrulyWill platform to create a legal and valid will at a fraction of this price.

What does a personal representative/executor do?

The executor of your will would be responsible for managing and settling your estate distribution after you pass away. It's always better to name a trusted adult as your personal representative.

Can I leave or donate my estate to an organization or charity?

You can leave all your assets to a charity organization. The court would follow your wishes and provide the organization with everything. However, consult an attorney to avoid any problems.

Can an executor or guardian refuse to take up the role?

Yes, your guardian or executor can refuse to take on the job. It is always better to ask the person and get their approval before mentioning them on your will.
Jennifer Mcgee
Parent to five young children. Expert in Estate Planning, Probate, and Family Law Matters. Volunteer with Victim’s Advocates in the local sheriff's department...
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Jennifer Mcgree
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