The passing of a loved one often leaves grieving family members to deal with complicated financial matters. Our Minnesota probate lawyers can put matters into perspective and offer the guidance necessary to work through the probate process.
The term “probate” references the need for a decision-maker to approve the distribution of an individuals assets, once their debts are satisfied. In most cases, there are nine equally important steps that must be followed. The stress and worry about whether probate is being handled correctly is very real – both to the personal representative appointed to manage the estate and the heirs who are entitled to inherit.
Retaining a probate attorney with decades of experience is the first step toward a prompt and transparent transfer of assets. Our lawyers are here to provide answers to all of your important questions. Call (763) 323-6555 or complete our online consultation form and a member of our law firm will be in touch with you shortly.
Key Probate issues
Formal probate involves oversight by the court and is reserved for complex estates. A personal representative will be appointed to manage the estate for the benefit of the heirs, pay creditors, value assets and prepare a final accounting.
Informal probate is the preferred option for most individuals. Less expensive and complicated than formal probate, an informal probate involves many of the same steps as formal probate – yet requires less intense oversight by the court.
In order to qualify for summary administration, the person administering the estate must file a request with the court. In most cases, this request cannot be filed unless the estate of the deceased has been open for six months.
Collection by Affidavit
Collection by Affidavit is often a great option to close an estate more quickly and without as much court involvement. However, it is not available for everyone. In order for an estate to qualify for Collection by Affidavit in the state of Minnesota, the net value of the probate assets of estate must not exceed $50,000.
Determination of Descent
In order for Determination of Descent to be applied to an estate, the decedent must have passed away over three years earlier. Additionally, there must be no existing proceedings in regards to the decedent’s estate. If both of these statements are true, then an individual may apply for Determination of Descent.
The Probate Process
Probate is a multistage process during which an estate is evaluated, divided, and settled. According to Minnesota state law, it is the responsibility of the court-appointed personal representative to carry out and close an estate during the probate process.
The Personal Representative is the individual responsible for handling a decedent’s estate. There are many different duties required of a Personal Representative, and it is certainly not a job to take lightly. Oftentimes, the decedent will name a Personal Representative in his or her Will.
Priority of Appointment
In the state of Minnesota, the determination of a personal representative of an estate often involves Priority of Appointment. In simple terms, priority recognizes a person’s status, which can be used as a guide by the courts in the determination of the representative.
Whenever money and property are on the line, there are always plenty of people who are “interested.” However, simply wanting something from an estate does not make you an interested person in the state of Minnesota. When an estate goes to probate, then it is important to determine the valid interested persons involved.
Probate v. Non-Probate Assets
In the state of Minnesota, an estate typically includes both probate and non-probate assets. Non-probate assets are automatically transferred to a beneficiary or heir upon death. There is no further legal process that is needed in order for the division and transfer of these types of property to occur.
The Elective Share
The state of Minnesota offers certain protection to a surviving spouse in the form of an elective share. Upon the death of a spouse, the state grants the surviving spouse the right to elect to receive a percentage of the decedent’s “augmented estate.”