Does Having a Will Avoid Probate in Minnesota?

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.

©2013 Wittenburg Law Office, PLLC. All rights reserved.

Disclaimer: This Blog is for informational purposes only and is not to be construed as legal advice. If you have questions, please seek the advice of an attorney licensed to practice law in the state where you live. Wittenburg Law does not expressly or implicitly warrant the accuracy or reliability of any of the Blog’s contents. An attorney-client relationship is not formed by reading this Blog. If you are interested in Wittenburg Law’s representation of you, you must contact Wittenburg Law for a determination of whether your matter is one for which Wittenburg Law is willing and able to accept representation of you.

Bonnie Wittenburg, Wittenburg Law Office, PLLC, 601 Carlson Parkway, Suite 1050, Minnetonka, MN 55305      952-649-9771   bonnie@bwittenburglaw.com  www.bwittenburglaw.com