Starting a Minnesota Probate Estate | MN Probate Law

Starting a Minnesota ProbateStarting a Minnesota probate estate usually means filing a “Petition” or “Application” with the district court located in the county of the deceased person’s (decedent’s) last known address.  Attorneys call this “venue”.

Whether a Probate Petition or Application should be used depends on the nature of the estate.  For question on this issue, a probate lawyer should be consulted.

Minnesota Probate | Choosing Informal or Formal

Basically, if problems or issues may arise from the estate administration, a formal probate is usually the best option.  This means that the personal representative’s actions will always be approved by the court.  This protects the heirs because the court is supervising the personal representative.  This protects the personal representative because the court will approve their decisions without fighting or back-biting from angry heirs or siblings.

Below are common issues which the law firm has seen created by heirs in starting a Minnesota probate estate:

  • Distributions will be made to a minor heir or devisee (person who receives money from the estate)
  • There may be confusion about the identity of heirs
  • The whereabouts of heirs is unknown
  • There is a possible issue with the state due to lack of heirs
  • There may be an inaccurate description of the heirs.
  • There may be illegitimate children of the decedent
  • The requirements of the Will cannot be satisfied and the personal representative needs court approval
  • There are existing disputes among the heirs and the personal representative
  • An heir or devisee caused the decedent’s death

Starting a Minnesota Probate Estate | Problems with the Will

Furthermore, common issues that arise which create the need for a starting a formal estate include:

  • A problem with the Will
  • The original Will is lost
  • There are handwritten changes to the Will
  • A separate writing is listed in the Will but cannot be found
  • The court cannot understand the Will
  • There is a need for a will construction due to an confusion or mistake in the Will
  • The Will does not contain a residue clause
  • The Will fails to nominate a personal representative

Real Estate in the Initial Probate

If the probate proceeding includes real estate, the real estate (home or otherwise) will need to be included.  This means finding the legal description and deed containing the last known ownership interest on the real property.  This can be found at the county recorders office in the county where the decedent lived or where the real estate is located.

Also, keep in mind that if the real estate will not be sold during the probate, a personal representative will likely want to proceed in a formal administration.  This is because many county recorders offices will not recognize a probate registrar’s determination of the heirs, which may cause the title to be unmarketable when it is later transferred to another party.  If, however, the intent is to sell the property during the administration, or if the will includes a specific person who will get the home or real estate, in most cases, a personal representative can proceed in an informal probate.

In all cases, if you have questions about how to deal with real estate in a probate, a lawyer must be consulted.  Failure to properly title and transfer real estate is one of the most common reasons for personal representative liability for negligence in handling the estate.

Insolvent Estates in a MN Probate

An insolvent estate is one which has more debt than assets.  In other words, the deceased person owed more money to people than they actually have in their estate.

Having an insolvent estate is one prime reason to start a formal proceeding.  This means that the personal representative and the lawyer will be responsible for, essentially, cleaning up the estate, paying bills, and then filing a closing statement with the court.  It is easy to understand how people or companies might be made when they do not get paid what they feel they are owed.  However, this is often the job of the probate estate.  The personal representative and the attorney should be very careful in this situation.  Finally, again, court supervision of the probate estate is ideal.

Free Initial Consultations

Questions about starting a Minnesota Probate?  Contact the Flanders Law Firm today.  The firm offers free consultations to all potential clients.  Call (612) 424-0398.

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