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Helping You Navigate Complex Legal Issues

What estate assets are exempt from creditors?

Gregory A. Lang

People in Hennepin work throughout their entire lives to accumulate assets that they can then pass on to their children. However, at the same time, they may also accumulate debts. If you have been asked to serve as the personal representative or executor of an estate, then you should know what to tell beneficiaries when they ask how the estate’s debts will affect their inheritances. Fortunately, you may have some good news for them.

Minnesota state law allows for certain exemptions on estate assets. This means that an allowed portion of these assets may be exempt from any claims that creditors may have against the estate. These exemptions begin with the descent of homestead, which according to the law states that the entire value of the homestead is exempt from all claims other than state health care or assistance, provided it is passed to either the surviving spouse or descendants. If in your case there are no descendants and the home will be passed to another party, then it is subject to any claims against the estate.

After the home, there are certain other forms of property that also qualify for exemptions. These are detailed in Section 524.2-403 of the state’s Probate Code. One is the full value of one automotive vehicle. The other is up to $10,000 in value on any of the following items:

  •          Furniture
  •          Furnishings
  •          Appliances
  •          Personal items

Section 524.2-404 goes on to say that the surviving spouse and children of the estate you are handling are also entitled to a family allowance of up to $1,500 month. This allowance period lasts for 18 months if the total assets of the estate are enough to settle all qualified claims against it. If they are not, then the allowance period is reduced to 12 months. 

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