Inheritance Rights Law in MN

Inheritance law determines which of your heirs will receive your property. The surviving spouse usually will inherit the whole estate, unless there is a will that provides otherwise. Even if there is a will the partially or entirely disinherits a spouse, the surviving spouse may elect their statutory share. Children, and sometimes grandchildren, also may have a right to claim an inheritance when a parent or grandparent dies.

Inheritance Rights of a Surviving Spouse

In Minnesota, both spouses do not necessarily own the property acquired during marriage. Ownership is determined by the name on the title or by ascertaining which spouses’ income purchased the property if a title is irrelevant. If, for example, only one spouse takes the title to a property, the presumption is that spouse with the name on the deed owns the house even if the other spouse actually paid for it.

However, a surviving spouse has protection from complete disinheritance. In Minnesota, the surviving spouse is usually entitled to at least $50,000.00 as the amount which may be taken instead of what was left to the surviving spouse in the will. A deceased spouse can choose to leave less than a state’s mandated inheritance right, but the surviving spouse may make a claim with the court to inherit the predetermined amount. The will is carried out according to the decedent’s wishes if the surviving spouse agreed in writing to accept less than the statutory amount or the surviving spouse never goes to court to claim the legal share.

Inheritance Rights of Children

Unlike a spouse, a child generally has no legally protected right to inherit a deceased parent’s property. The law does protect children when an unintentional omission in a will occurs, however. The law presumes that such omissions are accidental — especially when the birth of the child occurred after the creation of the will. Depending on whether a spouse survives the decedent, the omitted child may inherit some portion of the deceased parent’s estate. If the omission was intentional, though, the will should expressly state this.