Probate In Minnesota
Probate is the legal process of transferring property from the estate of a deceased person to their heirs. Even when there is a will, probate is required in Minnesota unless the total value of the deceased’s assets is less than $75,000 and the deceased did not own any real estate as the sole title holder. Probate usually takes between six months and a year but can drag on much longer if there are disputes among the heirs or if a business is part of the estate. Most people try to avoid probate when possible, but in Minnesota, most estates, who have properly engaged in estate planning will be able to avoid probate.
The Role Of A Personal Representative
When a probate case is filed, the court will name a personal representative responsible for managing the process. The basic responsibilities of a personal representative include:
- Collecting and making an inventory of the deceased’s assets
- Completing and filing paperwork with the court
- Paying taxes and debts owed by the deceased
- Distributing the remaining assets according to the deceased’s will or as provided by law
- Preparing a final account of all transactions and distributions and closing the estate
Serving as a personal representative can be very time consuming and complicated. At Franz Hultgren Evenson, we help personal representatives fulfill their obligations. We help collect information and ensure that papers are filed correctly. At the end of the process, we make sure that all assets are distributed according to law and the final account is filed with the court.
Formal Versus Informal Probate
Depending on the complexity of the deceased’s estate, probate cases can be filed either as formal or informal. Informal probate is used for estates that have an uncontested will with clear, specific provisions and meet the following requirements:
- The estate must be solvent (the value of the assets must be greater than the total debt).
- There can be no vulnerable parties (such as minors) mentioned in the will.
- The location of all heirs or devisees must be known.
- There must be no disagreement among the heirs or devisees.
Informal probate is filed with the probate registrar rather than the District Court. At the end of the process, an Unsupervised Personal Representative’s Statement to Close Estate is filed with the Probate Court.
Formal probate is more suitable than informal probate for most estates. When formal probate is chosen, the next decision is whether to file a supervised or unsupervised petition. This decision is generally based on whether the personal representative believes their actions administering the will are likely to be challenged by any of the heirs. In a supervised probate, the court is directly involved in administering the will. A supervised probate typically takes longer and involves more fees and expenses than an unsupervised probate.