Probate is the legal process of settling a person's affairs after they have died. This includes collecting the assets, paying valid debts, and distributing remaining assets according to the person's will or the Minnesota laws of intestacy. For many Minnesota families, probate is the place to begin after the death of a loved one.
IS PROBATE REQUIRED?
In Minnesota, probate is required when the total value of probate assets, less liens and encumbrances, is more than $75,000, or whenever real estate is a probate asset.
When the value of all probate assets, less liens and encumbrances, is less than $75,000 and does not include real estate, any person claiming to be a successor of the decedent may use an Affidavit of Collection of Personal Property to collect assets 30 days after the death of the decedent. However, some financial institutions may not be familiar with this method of collecting assets - in which case, it may be more efficient to collect the asset through the probate process.
When probate is required and the value of probate assets includes real estate or assets valued at more than $75,000, only the person appointed as personal representative by the court will be able to access and control the decedent's assets.
STARTING A MINNESOTA PROBATE
After determining that probate is required, the next step is to determine who will seek to be appointed as personal representative of the estate. A personal representative is the person who has the authority to act on behalf of the estate to collect assets, pay final expenses and expenses of administration, and distribute the decedent's assets. In some states, this person is known as the executor.
The personal representative will then either prepare and file an application or submit a petition to the district court to open probate and be appointed as personal representative. A probate may be opened either formally or informally and, if formally, be supervised or unsupervised. Generally, an informal probate is used in uncomplicated situations such as when the decedent had a will, the estate is financially solvent, and there are no controversies. Other situations will generally require formal administration of the estate. While informal probate is often less costly to administer, it can also take longer for the personal representative to be appointed to act.
The decision of whether to open a probate formally or informally should always be made with the advice of experienced and qualified legal counsel. Our attorneys work with personal representatives and heirs on probate, estate, and trust administration every day. We understand probate law, we understand you.
To start the process, schedule an appointment with one of our probate professionals today or use the form below to connect with an attorney today.