A Last Will and Testament is one of the most important documents you’ll ever sign. And, yet, only about 44% of Americans have signed Wills. That statistic also doesn’t tell us if their Wills have been kept up to date. It’s true that your estate assets will be distributed whether you die with a Will or without one, but you won’t be the one saying who gets your property. Currently don’t have a Will? Then it’s important to understand Minnesota intestacy laws.
One thing to note immediately is that your Will affects your non-probate estate assets. Some assets may be passed on in ways that do not require probate. For example, account holders may choose beneficiaries to receive financial accounts, insurance and so on upon their death. Real property may be transferred using a beneficiary deed. And business assets may transfer based on a business succession plan or trust. However, your Will still provides necessary guidance in other matters and sets up an orderly distribution of your probate assets.
Probate When There’s No Will
After someone dies, an application to probate their Will is submitted to a court. If the Will is valid, the executors start the process of locating heirs, paying credible claims against the estate, and disbursing assets according to the terms of the Will.
If the decedent did not leave a Will, or the Will they left was declared invalid, an application to probate the estate is still submitted to the Court. However, more than one person may want to be executor of the estate. In some cases, no one wants to serve as executor.
Intestate Succession Rules.
When there’s no Will that names who will receive the estate assets, the court divides the estate according to Minnesota intestacy laws. Many of the rules relate to whether the decedent was survived by a spouse or descendants.
Survived by Spouse and/or Descendants.
Spouse inherits the entire estate if there are no descendants or if all descendants are from the decedent and spouse. Estate assets will be distributed differently if the decedent had children with someone other than the spouse, or if the spouse had children that are not descended from the decedent.
Not Survived by Spouse or Descendants.
The court looks to the decedent’s parents if there’s no surviving spouse or children. If the parents are deceased, the estate goes to the decedent’s siblings and children of deceased siblings. When the deceased person is not survived by any family members, the estate assets are turned over to the State of Minnesota.
Leave a Good Will for Your Family.
At Virtus Law, we know it can be difficult to talk about estate planning. We also know also how important it is for clients to have complete estate plans. To schedule an appointment with one of our estate planning attorneys, contact us at 612.888.1000 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Our main office is in Minneapolis, but we serve other communities like Edina, Mendota Heights, and Red Wing.