The death of a loved one is never easy, and the process of having to settle the estate through probate can often cause tension and increased feelings of loss. Whenever someone dies, it is necessary to settle the estate, which involves determining where assets and property will go. Probate is often a part of this process, but it can take on several different forms. If you are involved in the estate of a deceased and need more information about probate, our attorneys are here to help.

When Probate is Necessary

While many people take steps to plan their estates prior to death, an estate plan does not necessarily mean that the process after death will be simple. Oftentimes, probate is necessary in order for the division of property and assets to occur. If there are any “probate assets” in the estate, then probate most likely will be involved in the settlement of the estate. Whether or not there is a Will present, it’s usually in everyone’s best interests to have an attorney involved. If you have recently experienced the death of a loved one and probate is in your future, our attorneys are here to help. It’s important to understand the different types of probate and the options for avoiding probate completely.

Types of Probate in Minnesota

In the state of Minnesota, there are two main types of probate: formal and informal. Formal probate is required when court supervision is necessary to settle the estate. Some typical reasons for formal probate include:

  • There is a disagreement regarding property or assets;
  • The provisions of the Will are not clear;
  • There are minor heirs or devisees; or
  • The division of the estate cannot be determined by the Will

In cases where court involvement is not necessary, then informal probate is often the best option. There are many circumstances that can prevent informal probate from being approved, and the Probate Registrar may reject a request for informal probate for any reason. For example, if any heirs are minors or cannot be located, then informal probate cannot be used. If a judge’s signature is required, if a Will cannot be located or verified, or if an estate is insolvent, then formal probate will usually be necessary.

The process of probate can be confusing and lengthy. Our lawyers can help you understand which type of probate is right for you. We can also help you determine if there are special circumstances that may help you avoid probate. Options like Summary Administration and Collection by Affidavit sometimes can help speed along the process of settling an estate without going to probate.

Free Consultation

Do you have questions about formal v. informal probate? Our lawyers are here to help. We’ve represented thousands of clients since 1998. Call 763-323-6555 for a free consultation.