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Probate trust law changes

Published (6/1/2010)
By Mike Cook
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Certain provisions of probate and trust law are the crux of a new law.

Effective Aug. 1, 2010, unless otherwise noted, the law clarifies the inheritance rights when a person dies without a will. It provides that a parent is barred from inheriting from or through a child of the parent if the parent’s parental rights were terminated and the parent-child relationship was not judicially reestablished. The same holds true if the child died before age 18 and there is “clear and convincing evidence” before the death that parental rights could have been terminated immediately before the child’s death for nonsupport, abandonment, abuse, neglect or other action or inaction.

Other clarifying provisions in the law include:

• a parent’s marital status does not affect the parent-child relationship for purposes of succession;

• a parent-child relationship exists between an adopted child and the adopting parents for purposes of intestate succession;

• a person in the process of being adopted by a married couple when one of the spouses dies is treated as adopted by the deceased spouse if the adoption is subsequently granted to the surviving spouse;

• unless otherwise decreed, a parent-child relationship does not exist between an adoptee and the adoptee’s genetic parents;

• a parent-child relationship does not exist between a child of assisted reproduction and a third-party donor; and

• standards are provided for the appointment of an emergency and temporary conservator. This section is effective May 14, 2010. Similar standards currently exist for appointment of an emergency guardian.

The law does not affect state law regarding gestational agreements; nor does it affect the doctrine of equitable adoption.

Brought by the Uniform Laws Commission via the Minnesota State Bar Association, the law also makes clarifying comments about how wills and trusts will be interpreted now that certain tax provisions have expired.

Rep. Melissa Hortman (DFL-Brooklyn Park) and Sen. Don Betzold (DFL-Fridley)sponsor the law.

HF2825/ SF2427*/CH334

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