Obligations For Child Support
All too often when a parent dies who has minor children, the custodial parent loses out on child support. This is unfortunate but it can be handled in the probate proceeding. However, time is of the essence. The parent who takes care of the child or children should be vigilant to be sure that child support is paid even though the obligated parent is deceased.
Minnesota Law On Child Support
First of all, under Minnesota Law the child is entitled to maintenance paid from the probate estate for at least 18 months after the parent's death.
Secondly, if there is child support which is past due, the custodial parent on behalf of the child may wish to make a claim on the estate for the unpaid child support.
Furthermore, the divorce decree may contain contract obligations that the deceased parent's estate may owe to the child or to the former spouse. This could include property settlements or support obligations that the decedent had agreed to or was ordered to perform as part of the divorce process.
The surviving parent should carefully examine the divorce decree for terms and conditions that may be enforced in the probate proceedings. Possibly even more significant is that point that the child may be entitled to a significant part of the estate of the deceased parent.
There Are Deadlines For Receiving Support
However, the child and his or her custodial parent should not wait around expecting the probate court to search out the child and give the child an inheritance or financial support rights under the Probate Code. Indeed I have seen situations where greedy or vengeful inlaws will ignore or even deny the existence of a child so that they can claim the deceased parent's estate.
When a parent dies with a minor child who was not living with the deceased, that child's other parent should contact a probate attorney immediately to protect the child's rights to support and his or her inheritance.