Order of inheritance: Understanding the succession plan

On Behalf of | Dec 4, 2020 | Inheritances |

It is crucial that individuals in Minnesota and around the country know who will take control of their estates after they pass on. This is called the order of inheritance, and depending on your state, it will determine the people who will receive part or the entirety of your estate. Understandably, this is something very important to families as they do not want any infighting once an estate begins to be distributed. The following includes further information regarding the order of inheritance, so you can better understand who will obtain your money and assets.


As stated above, each state has its own laws that dictate the order of inheritance. Although certain elements may vary, the vast majority of the states will adhere to the same Uniform Probate Code, or UPC. Under the UPC, those closest to the estate holder will be first in line to receive a portion of the estate. The most common situation that occurs is that a spouse will be the first in line to inherit the estate. If he or she has adult children at the time of death, then the children will receive a portion of the estate. However, if the children are considered minors, then the spouse will be given the entire estate unless certain restrictions were placed by the deceased.

Next in line

If no spouse or children remain, then the next in line will include grandchildren. After that, it’s the parents of the deceased who will take over the estate. Last in line may include people such as siblings, nieces, grandparents and uncles/aunts.

What about adopted children?

According to the law, adopted children are seen as the same as biological children and, thus, are among the first in line to receive part or the entirety of the estate.

Although the law is clear, first-in-line relatives may face certain legal challenges from the rest of the family. Therefore, it is important to have a legal representative at the ready if this situation occurs.