A surviving spouse in Minnesota is afforded numerous statutory rights that entitle the surviving spouse to financial security in the deceased spouse’s estate, in addition to those provided under the Will.


Initially, Minnesota’s laws governing intestate succession provide that a surviving spouse is entitled to an intestate share of the property of the deceased spouse dies without a Will.

The intestate share of the surviving spouse is:

The entire estate if: (1) no descendant of the decedent survives the decedent; or (2) all of the decedent’s surviving descendants are also descendants of the surviving spouse and there is no other descendant of the surviving spouse who survives the decedent;

The first $150,000 plus one-half of the balance: if the surviving spouse has at least one surviving descendent who was not also descended from the decedent.

Elective Share

A surviving spouse is entitled to take, as an elective share the value of the elective share percentage of the augmented estate determined according to the following schedule:

Length of the Marriage

Elective Share of the Augmented Estate

Less than 1 year

Supplemental amount only.

1 year but less than 2 years


2 years but less than 3 years


3 years but less than 4 years


4 years but less than 5 years


5 years but less than 6 years


6 years but less than 7 years


7 years but less than 8 years


8 years but less than 9 years


9 years but less than 10 years


10 years but less than 11 years


11 years but less than 12 years


12 years but less than 13 years


13 years but less than 14 years


14 years but less than 15 years


15 years or more


Minn. Stat. § 524.2-202.

The augmented estate:

[C]onsists of the sum of the values of all property, whether real or personal, movable or immovable, tangible or intangible, wherever situated, that constitute the decedent’s net probate estate, the decedent’s nonprobate transfers to others, the decedent’s nonprobate transfers to the surviving spouse, and the surviving spouse’s property and nonprobate transfers to others.

Minn. Stat. § 524.2-205.

In addition, the surviving spouse is also entitled to homestead rights, exempt property, and family maintenance allowance. See Minn. Stat. § § 524.2-402 through 524.2-404.

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