A Minnesota Estate Planning and Probate Lawyer Explains How Assets Are Divided Without a Will
If you are married at the time of death.
If you don’t have any direct (lineal) descedants (kids/grandkids), your spouse gets the entire estate.
If you had kids AND all the kids are with your surviving spouse’s children (NONE from a prior relationship) the spouse receives the entire estate.
If you had kids AND any of them are from a prior relationship, your spouse will receive the FIRST $225,000 in the estate. In addition, your spouse will split the remaining assets with your prior children 50/50.
For example, let’s say you died without a will and with a surviving spouse and 2 kids from a prior marriage and the estate is worth $425,000. Below is the estate breakdown:
Your spouse gets:
$100,000 (50% of remaining $100,000 after $225,000)
Your two prior kids get
$100,000 to be split 50/50 so
TOTAL $50,000 each
If your surviving spouse also has a prior child, he/she stands to inherit a larger share of your estate than your own children. This may not be the result you want. To better protect your spouse and children, plan now.