Intestate Succession in Minnesota Part 1 – What if I Don’t Have a Will?
So by now, everybody knows that it doesn’t look like Prince had a will. What happens next? If you die without a will in Minnesota, your assets will go to your closest relatives under state “intestate succession” laws. As Prince’s estate has shown us, the results aren’t always what you think they are – Minnesota is one of few states where half-siblings inherit equally with siblings from the same parents. The question of who inherits can get complicated if you don’t have an estate plan.
Which Assets Pass by Intestate Succession in Minnesota?
The intestacy process affects assets the you own alone, in your name only. This can include bank accounts, real estate, vehicles, investment accounts, personal effects, and many other things an individual can own.
Some assets aren’t affected by intestate succession laws. For example:
- payable-on-death bank or investment accounts (unless a beneficiary isn’t designated)
- life insurance proceeds (unless a beneficiary isn’t designated)
- funds in an IRA, 401(k), or other retirement account (unless a beneficiary isn’t designated)
- real estate held by transfer-on-death deed or that you own with someone else in joint tenancy
- property held in a living trust
These assets will pass to the surviving co-owner or to the beneficiary you named, whether or not you have a will. These provisions only work if you have designated a beneficiary – that is, properly completed the paperwork or filed the deed to identify who gets the asset at your death. For instance, if you have a retirement account and you fail to notify the account administrator about who should get the money at your death, the funds will go to your estate and be distributed according to intestacy laws.
Who Gets My Assets under Intestate Succession in Minnesota?
Under Minnesota intestate succession laws, who gets what depends on who survives you. Here’s a quick overview:
|If you die with:||Result:|
|· children but no spouse||· children inherit everything|
|· spouse but no descendants||· spouse inherits everything|
|· spouse and descendants from you and that spouse, and the spouse has no other descendants||· spouse inherits everything|
|· spouse and descendants from you and that spouse, and the spouse has descendants from another relationship||· spouse inherits the first $150,000 of your intestate property, plus 1/2 of the balance, and descendants inherit everything else|
|· spouse and descendants from you and someone other than that spouse||· spouse inherits the first $150,000 of your intestate property, plus 1/2 of the balance, and descendants inherit everything else|
|· parents but no spouse or descendants||· parents inherit everything|
|· siblings but no spouse, descendants, or parents||· siblings inherit everything|
Next time…Who Are My Descendants Anyway?