Burris Law Offices, PLLC
Gay Rights Attorney Serving Minneapolis

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Understanding Estate and Trust Administration

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Now that you find yourself married, are you wondering about how your property should be handled when you or your spouse passes? How will that work?

When a loved one dies, his or her affairs must be wound up properly. If the decedent had a will, it must be determined to be in compliance with Minnesota law, that is, valid, enforceable and expressing the true intent of the decedent. If there is no will, then property will be distributed according to state law called “The Law of Intestate Succession”. This distributes the deceased’s property to his/her “heirs at law” or “blood relatives”.

The Probate Court must designate a personal representative, who has the duty to fulfill tasks such as:

  • Inventorying all assets
  • Having assets evaluated
  • Paying and collecting debts of the estate
  • Selling or disposing of assets
  • Distributing items as directed in the will

Real property, bank accounts and retirement benefits may be part of the estate. Unless trusts or other steps were taken to avoid probate, the estate may take a while to be settled.

If a trust has been established in an attempt to avoid the public probate process, and the trust maker/trustee is not longer able to administer it because he/she has become disabled or deceased, then a successor trustee must take on that job. Mr. Burris has considerable experience in counseling successor trustees in administering and settling trust estates.


Attorney Jonathan Burris is known throughout the LGBTQA community as a caring and compassionate lawyer, and is known throughout the legal community as a thorough and knowledgeable advocate in every matter he handles. He strongly believes in protecting the rights of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender individuals and couples, and is a recognized pioneer in the field.