Distributions to a Minor Child | Minnesota Probate

MN Probate Law Distribution to MinorDistributions to a Minor Child

Many people who contact the law firm have very specific questions about distributions to a minor child in a Minnesota probate.  We are drafting this article to provide information that you can use in our particular situation.

The most common occurrence of when distributions need to be made to a minor child is when the child’s parent suddenly dies.  This tragic circumstance often creates confusion around what the deceased person’s minor child will receive from the deceased person’s estate.  This article will discuss probate law and how the law deals with inheritances of a minor through the probate process.  There are other instances (or simultaneous instances) when a guardianship and/or conservatorship for the minor child may also need to be discussed.

Minnesota Probate Law

If a personal representative is required to give money or personal property to a minor child pursuant to deceased person’s will or the law of intestacy (without a Will) the distribution can be accomplished by transferring an amount not exceeding $5,000 per year to:

  • the conservator for the minor child
  • a person who has the care or custody of the minor and with whom the minor child lives with
  • a guardian of the minor

There are other instances in which the personal representative can distribute money to a financial institution or custodian under the Uniform Transfers to Minor Act.  That act will not be discussed in this article.

Appointment of a Guardian and/or Conservator

Minnesota law makes a distinction between (1) the guardian of the “person” of a minor and (2) the conservator of the “estate” of the minor.  The “person” is the health and welfare of the minor.  The “estate” is the personal property and/or money belonging to the minor.

For purposes of distribution of assets from a probate estate, the personal representative may need only accomplish the appointment of a conservator.  Specifically, Minnesota statutes 524.5-402 through 524.5-409 provide the information on how to set up a conservatorship for a minor.  Additionally, the “venue” for a conservatorship for a minor is the county where the minor resides, or, if the minor does not reside in the state, any county where the property is located.

Minnesota statute 524.5-401 sets for the information which is required to be in a Petition for the appointment of a conservator.  The petitioner is the proposed Conservator.  This person may also be the same person who is the personal representative of the estate. The petition should contain the following information:

  1. the minor’s name, age, and place of residence
  2. the name and address of the minor’s parents and adult brothers and sisters
  3. the name and address of any legal representative of the minor
  4. a general statement of the minor’s property and an estimate of value
  5. the reason that the conservatorship is in the best interest of the minor
  6. the name and address of any proposed conservator and the reason why that person should be selected
  7. the type of conservatorship which is requested – a limited or an “unlimited” conservatorship

The above information is simply what the statute requires.  Other information may be required depending on the specific facts of the case.  An experienced probate attorney should be consulted for specific questions.

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Contact the Flanders Law Firm today.  The firm offers free consultations to all potential clients.  Call (612) 424-0398.

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