Probate, trust, guardianship and inheritance litigation
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Who Are Next Of Kin In Minnesota?

“Next of kin” for inheritance purposes under Minnesota law means the relatives that inherit under the intestacy statutes and are:

  1. Surviving spouse
  2. Descendants
  3. Parents
  4. Siblings
  5. Grandparents
  6. Aunts and uncles


In the context of a Minnesota wrongful death action, next of kin means the members of the class from which beneficiaries are chosen under the intestacy statute.

Who Inherits From An Intestate Estate In Minnesota?

The next of kin that inherit from an intestate estate under Minnesota law depend on the other survivors of the decedent.  The inheritance rights change depending on whether decedent was surviving by a spouse, children, and if all children are children of the marriage.

Survivors of the Decedent

Who Inherits What?

Surviving spouse only

–      100% of estate to spouse

Spouse and children from the relationship only

–      100% of estate to spouse

Spouse and descendants from the relationship, and spouse has descendants from another relationship

–      First $225,000 to spouse, plus ½ of the balance

–      Descendants inherit the balance

Spouse and descendants from a different relationship

–      First $225,000 to spouse, plus ½ of the balance

–      Descendants inherit the balance

Children only

–      100% to children

Parents only

–      100% to parents

Siblings only

–      100% to siblings

Grandparents only

–      Paternal and maternal grandparents share estate

Aunts and uncles only

–      Paternal and maternal aunts and uncles share estate

Absolutely no one above

–      Nearest relatives inherit estate

Minnesota’s intestate inheritance rules can be found in Minn. Stat. 524.102. and Minn. Stat. 524.103.

What Do You Inherit If You Are The Next Of Kin Intestate Heir In Minnesota?

Even though you are the next of kin in line to inherit from a Minnesota decedent’s intestate estate, you are not guaranteed that there will be assets to inherit.   If the decedent did not have probate assets, then there will be nothing to inherit under Minnesota’s intestacy statutes.  See Probate and Non-Probate Assets Chart.

Non-probate assets are controlled by their titling or beneficiary designation, and do not have to pass through probate.  We have written about a Minnesota case addressing this issue here.

Minnesota 120-Hour Survivorship Period

Like many states, Minnesota requires that to inherit under the intestacy statutes, a next of kin heir must survive the decedent by 120 hours or five days.  Minn. Stat. 524.2-104 states:

An individual who fails to survive the decedent by 120 hours is deemed to have predeceased the decedent for purposes of homestead, exempt property, and intestate succession, and the decedent’s heirs are determined accordingly. If it is not established that an individual who would otherwise be an heir survived the decedent by 120 hours, it is deemed that the individual failed to survive for the required period. This section is not to be applied if its application would result in a taking of intestate estate by the state under section 524.2-105.

A Minnesota probate lawyer can help you determine your status as next of kin or an intestate heir.