How Does Probate Work in Minnesota?
After the passing of a loved one, one of the most difficult tasks a family must do is figure out what happens to their belongings and assets. If your family member passed without a will, entering into probate may be the best way to secure their assets properly. Here’s how our team can help.
What is Probate?
In Minnesota, probate is a legal process commonly used to settle the estate of a loved one that passed, called the "decedent." Probate is required when a person who passed had at least $75,000 in personal property and owned real estate in their name. During probate, the court will appoint a personal representative to look after the estate.
What Does a Personal Representative Do?
A personal representative is legally responsible for administering the estate of your loved one during probate, and they are also obligated to carry out other responsibilities, including:
- Finding and noting your family member's assets.
- Paying off any debts or outstanding bills.
- Distributing assets to beneficiaries.
- Closing out the estate once it's settled.
If your loved one named a personal representative to probate their will, they must oversee the legal process. If your loved one didn't name a personal representative or did not leave a will, the court will appoint a representative to oversee the case.
How Long Does the Probate Process Take?
Probate can take up to a year before your case gets settled by the Minnesota family court. However, the length of a probate case varies based on your circumstances, and if the probate is formal or informal. Either way, legal documents need to be filed and processed with the court, which can take time.
Formal Probate Process
A supervised and unsupervised formal probate will involve a court case. Formal probate can be an option if you have issues that need to be resolved with the help of a judge. Reasons for formal probate include:
- Parties disagree.
- There are questions about the validity of the will.
- The will includes real property in the estate.
The court will also appoint a representative who will be responsible for settling the estate.
Informal Probate Process
Probate proceedings can be informal when beneficiaries get along and have no problems resolving their inheritance. Informal probate is an easier process and most probate proceedings in Minnesota are informal.
If you’re interested in the estate and you initiate the probate process, you would need to initiate formal probate, not informal probate.
While this process may seem daunting, seeking legal help can make it easier for you and your family. An experienced family law attorney can assist your family's representative with the steps they need to take to allocate your loved one's assets in court.