What happens to an intestate relative’s assets?

What happens to an intestate relative’s assets?

| May 5, 2020 | Intestacy |

When a loved one passes away, you may find that they lack an estate plan. This document would have detailed their intentions for disbursing their property upon their passing. Without one, you will likely find yourself confused about where their assets will go. The absence of an estate plan is intestacy. And it can lead to a long, complicated probate process.

How succession works

In Minnesota, an intestate person’s assets first pass down to their surviving spouse. Yet, your relative may have been unmarried, or their spouse may have passed away. In this case, their property’s disbursement follows the statutes of the state’s succession laws. Either way, the probate court will appoint an administrator to value and distribute your relative’s assets. The administrator must also locate any rightful heirs of your loved one who may inherit them. If a next of kin is not located, these assets become the property of the state. And if your relative had more debts than assets upon their passing, their estate becomes insolvent.

The challenges of probate

When your loved one passes away intestate, there are no easy solutions to simplify the challenges of the process. You may find yourself fighting with family members who claim they knew how your relative wanted their assets disbursed. Yet, without a valid estate plan, an administrator cannot verify or follow these instructions. If your relatives continue squabbling over this property, the probate process may drag on for years. But you do not have to endure it alone. Working with an attorney who has probate experience can help you clarify and navigate the challenges of a relative’s intestacy.

William G. Peterson
FindLaw