What is Probate in Minnesota?
In Minnesota probate is the legal process for transferring assets from a deceased person (decedent) to heirs and beneficiaries. There are two triggers for probate in Minnesota. One is if you own real estate in your own name alone when you die. The second is if you own assets in your name alone that total more than $75,000 and those assets do not designate a beneficiary or payable on death designee.
If either of those situations pertain to you, or may pertain to you at some point, you should talk to an experienced Minnesota probate attorney to see if there are ways for you to avoid probate in Minnesota. In addition, if a family member or loved one has passed and has named you as a personal representative or executor of the estate, or died without a will, you should contact a probate attorney immediately to discuss the next steps.
How long does Probate in Minnesota take?
A probate in Minnesota usually will take a minimum of six months, but can take as long as several years to complete, depending on the assets and the family dynamics. The typical steps of probate in Minnesota are listed below (this list is not exhaustive):
- File and application for probate with the probate court in the county in which the decedent was domiciled at death
- Submit the will (if any) to the probate court for review and approval
- Publish notice of the probate for two straight weeks in a newspaper so any creditors may submit claims
- Collect the assets of the estate
- Wait for the creditor claims period to expire (four months)
- Pay any legitimate claims, expenses, taxes, and debts of the estate
- File an inventory of the assets with the court
- Complete a final accounting of the estate
- Distribute assets to beneficiaries
- Close the estate with the court
Duties of a Personal Representative in Minnesota Probate
If you are named as a personal representative (executor) in a Minnesota probate you will have certain duties and obligations to beneficiaries. Some of the duties of an executor in Minnesota are listed below. Please note that this list is not exhaustive of every duty of a personal representative in a Minnesota probate:
- A duty to settle and distribute the estate of the decedent in accordance with the terms of any probated and effective will and applicable law
- Prepare and file or mail an inventory of property owned by the decedent at the time of death to the surviving spouse, to all residuary distributees, and to interested persons or creditors who request a copy
- A duty to pay taxes on, and take all steps reasonably necessary for the management, protection and preservation of the estate
- A duty to the estate to evaluate and pursue claims that would benefit the estate
- A duty to manage the estate's assets under the level of care of “a prudent person dealing with the property of another”
- A personal representative is personally liable for damage or loss resulting from breach of fiduciary duty
Cause for removal of a personal representative exists when removal is in the best interests of the estate, or if it is shown that a personal representative intentionally misrepresented material facts in the proceedings leading to the appointment, or that the personal representative has disregarded an order of the court, has become incapable of discharging the duties of office, or has mismanaged the estate or failed to perform any duty pertaining to the office.
When it comes to serving as personal representative in a Minnesota probate, you should consult with a knowledgeable Minnesota probate attorney who has experience dealing with the intricacies of probate. It is not worth risking handling a probate on your own. Contact our office today for a free initial consultation for your probate proceeding.