Minnesota families sometimes set up trust funds to help their children or grandchildren with their financial needs after they're gone. These can be a great way to keep a sense of family legacy together through generations. However, the work involved doesn't end once all the documents are signed and dated. The trustee must perform its duty to the trust principal and the beneficiaries must not interfere with each others' rights to the fund. When something goes wrong, it can lead to lawsuits over misuse of funds.
Many of Minnesota's elderly residents have been targeted by unscrupulous individuals who cheat them out of their money through identity theft and other scams. In some cases, it's not just a common thief but an investment banker or other supposed professional who drains away the person's estate through imprudent investments, self-dealing and breach of fiduciary duty.
Under Minnesota law, when a person dies without a will, the person's estate passes to relatives according to what are known as the laws of intestate succession. Every state has a similar law, and they are all designed to distribute estate to family members, starting with the closest relatives and then, if close relatives are deceased, to relatives who are farther removed on the family tree. But what if a person dies without a will and without any living relatives?