South Dakota Last Will and Testament Template

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Updated June 17, 2022

A South Dakota last will and testament is a legal document used for estate-planning purposes and created by an individual who wishes to set instructions on how their estate shall be distributed upon death. This individual, known as the “Testator,” can utilize a will to dictate the distribution of assets– such as real and personal property, fiduciary accounts, life insurance policies, cash-on-hand, along with many others– among friends, family, and even charitable organizations. A testator may also appoint a chosen executor or personal representative who shall handle the estate in accordance with the will terms. Under South Dakota law, wills must be witnessed and signed by two (2) credible witnesses in order to be legally executed. Wills may be revoked or changed by the testator at any time, as long as they are of sound mind to do so.

Table of Contents


Definition – § 29A-1-201(52) – “Will” means an instrument, including a codicil, executed with testamentary intent and in the manner prescribed by this code, including an instrument which (i) disposes of property on or after the testator’s death, (ii) appoints a personal representative, (iii) revokes or amends another will, (iv) nominates a guardian or conservator, or (v) expressly excludes or limits the right of an individual or class to succeed to property of the decedent passing by intestate succession.

Signing Requirements (Section 29A-2-502) – Signed in the conscious presence of the testator by two (2) or more individual Witnesses.

StatutesChapter 29A-1 (South Dakota Uniform Probate Code)

Video – How to Make a Will in South Dakota

How to Write

Step 1 – The testator of this document may be established by placing their name in the first line at the top of the document. This should be followed by:

  • Provision of the testator’s name
  • City and County testator’s residence
  • Review of the remainder of the paragraph
  • Review of  “Expenses and Taxes”

Step 2 – Appointment of an Executor by entering:

  • Name the testator’s chosen representative
  • Name of their City and county
  • Residential State

In selecting an alternate executor, this will secure a second trusted representative to execute the testator’s estate in the manner in which they have chosen. This would be necessary should the initially selected executor, for any reason becomes unable or unwilling to execute the will in the manner in which the testator has stated – Testator must enter:

  • The name of the second representative
  • City
  • County
  • Alternate representative’s state

Step 3 – Disposition of Property to Beneficiaries:

Beneficiaries – Enter the following information:

  • The beneficiary’s name
  • An address for all named beneficiaries
  • Provide the relationship to the testator
  • Provide last four digits of the SSN for all persons named as a beneficiary
  • Descriptions of property that the testator shall provide respectively

Step 4 – Review all titled sections:

  • Omission
  • Bond
  • Discretionary Powers of Personal Representative
  • Contesting Beneficiary
  • Guardian Ad Litem  Not Required
  • Gender
  • Assignment
  • Governing Law
  • Binding Arrangement

Step 5 – Signatures – All person(s) who shall serve as a signatory must be present to one to another in order to sign the document. Provide:

  • The name of the testator
  • A date must be entered for the testator’s signature in dd/mm/yyyy format
  • The Testator’s own signature
  • Print the name of the testator

Witnesses – Witnesses should read the brief statement –

  • Date the signatures – dd/mm/yyyy
  • Name the testator

Witness 1 – 

  • Signature
  • Physical Address

Witness 2 –

  • Signature
  • Physical Address

Step 6 – Affidavit of Testament – All parties must review, then enter:

  •  Residential State
  • Residential County
  • Testator’s name
  • Name of the 1st witness
  • Name of the 2nd witness
  • AND
  • Signature of testator
  • Signature for 1st Witness
  • Signature for 2nd Witness

Step 7 (Optional) – Notary – As the testator completes the document, all signatures shall be witnessed and acknowledge by a state notary public.

Related Forms


Advance Directive

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Durable (Financial) Power of Attorney

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