The existence or non-existence of a Will has nothing to do with whether or not probate is required in Minnesota. Your estate may go through probate whether or not you have a Will.
Probate is required in Minnesota if you die with more than $50,000 in assets in your name alone, or if you own Minnesota real estate in your name alone. If you also own real estate in another state, you are subject to probate in that state as well as in Minnesota.
The purpose of probate is to determine if your Will is valid. Perhaps the required formalities regarding your signature or witnesses weren’t completed properly. Or perhaps someone believes that the Will presented regarding your estate has been forged or is an older Will that you replaced with a newer version. Perhaps someone is alleging that you signed the Will when you no longer had the mental capacity to understand what you were doing, or were unduly influenced by someone who stood to gain by the Will.
If your Will is determined by the probate court in your home county to be valid, then the language in the Will determines “who gets what”. If you don’t have a Will, Minnesota’s statutory laws determine who inherits.
Did you know, for example, that if a childless married couple dies in Minnesota without an estate plan, it is only the blood relatives of the second spouse to die that inherits the remaining assets accumulated over the lifetime of both spouses?
Most people prefer that they are able to call the shots regarding the estate that they leave behind at death. Therefore, it is best to have a Will.
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