What Happens if You Die Without a Will in Minnesota?

At Grabitske Law, we always want to emphasize to our clients the importance of having a current estate plan in place. We are sometimes asked, “What would happen if I died without a Will?” In today’s blog post, we will answer that question. 

If you are a resident of Minnesota and you die without a Will, Minnesota law provides a default estate plan.  That plan is known as intestate succession.  That default plan will determine who inherits your estate.

In general in intestate succession, creditors are paid before anyone inherits anything.  Estates subject to tax must file a return and pay applicable state and federal estate tax.  There are certain exemptions and allowances that escape most creditor claims, and will be addressed in another blog entry.

First, let’s look at what will happen if you have a spouse and/or children:

If you are survived by your spouse and the only children you had were with that spouse, or you have no living children; your spouse will inherit your entire estate.

Things get more complicated in blended families.  If you are survived by your spouse, the children you had with that spouse, and either you or your surviving spouse had children from a different relationship: at a minimum, your spouse will receive the first $225,000 of your estate plus half of anything that remains beyond that. Your children will inherit the balance.

If you are survived by your children and no spouse, your children will inherit all of your estate and split it evenly. 

Next, let’s look at what will happen if you are not survived by a spouse or any descendents. If your parents outlive you, they will inherit your estate. If both of your parents are living, it will be split equally between them. If only one of your parents is living, he or she will inherit 100% of your estate. If your parents are no longer living, your estate would go to your closest living relatives, which may be your siblings or their children.

Things can get a little complex depending on the order of death.  To inherit, generally people need to survive you by five days (120 hours).

If you are not survived by any family members, your estate will become property of the state. 

The identities of the individuals who inherit must be determined through a probate proceeding.The rules of intestate succession generally apply to property that requires a court or personal representative to change title.  Assets that are payable on death, or are transferable on death, pass to the named individuals regardless of the rules of intestate succession..

What if you could have a say in who inherits what and how much from you? What if your heirs are not ready to handle whatever inheritance you might leave them when you pass?  What if you could minimize taxes, and make the probate process much easier for your loved ones? That’s what estate planning is all about. Grabitske Law is here to help.

Give us a call at (507) 779-7012 to get started.

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Grabitske Law Firm, PLC

For nearly two decades, Paul Grabitske has been helping clients with their legal issues in the areas of estate planning, probate, trust administration, business law, agricultural law and litigation.

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