Your Minnesota Will covers only what is known as your “probate assets”. If your Will provides that each of your 3 children is to inherit one-third of your estate, each child will inherit one-third of your “probate assets” only.
Stated another way, the wording of your Will has no impact on assets that are considered “non-probate assets”, and your non-probate assets may be a significant portion of your estate.
People who think they are finished with their estate planning once they have a Will in hand may end up with an unhappy result. The non-probate assets need to be cared for also.
Non-probate assets in Minnesota include jointly held assets, bank accounts held as P.O.D. (payable on death) accounts and securities accounts held as T.O.D. (transfer on death) accounts. Non-probate assets also include any asset for which you designate a beneficiary — such as life insurance and retirement plan benefits (unless you name “my estate” as the beneficiary).
Other types of non-probate assets include assets titled to the trustees of your revocable living trust, and Minnesota real estate for which a transfer on death deed (TODD) has been recorded with the relevant Minnesota county prior to your death.
For example, if you name one of your 3 children as a joint owner of your bank account, that child is in position to inherit not only inherit his or her one-third of your probate assets, but also all of the balance that remains in the bank account upon your death. Such a result could easily upset your other children who may feel that they are being cheated.
Consult with an estate planning lawyer to review all of your assets — both probate and non-probate — to help you understand how you might best achieve the end result that you desire.
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