Starting the Informal Probate Process in Minnesota

Minnesota probate processWhen you want to probate a simple estate involving limited property, ask your Minnesota estate planning lawyer if you can just initiate the informal process. This fairly straightforward approach is clearly set forth on the Minnesota Attorney General’s Office website.

As for the general requirements, you’ll need to first check with your lawyer or county probate court because some Minnesota counties allow you to initiate the probate process online — while others insist you do so in person. Here’s a quick review of what you and your attorney must include in the application to begin probate in this manner.

Information That Must Be Included in Your MN Informal Probate Application

  • Clear statement about your identity. You must tell the court what your interest is in the proceedings – whether you’re a spouse, child, personal representative – or another party;
  • Specific data identifying the decedent. Be sure to include this person’s birth and death dates — along with the county and state s/he was living in at the time of death;
  • Provide contact data for all close relatives. In other words, list the names and addresses of the deceased person’s spouse, as well as his/her children, heirs – or other people named in any Will that may have been found. Also, if any of the children are minors, you need to list their ages;
  • Note where the decedent was living if his/her formal domicile was not MN at the time of death. This informs the court of the proper venue for probating the estate;
  • Identify the personal representative, if you have this information. Be sure to provide this individual’s address, too;
  • Include information about other related filings. If you know or believe that there’s been another probate or “appointment proceeding concerning [the] decedent” in MN or somewhere else – be sure to include this data, too.

In cases where the decedent left behind a Will, you must also include the following information in your application to initiate probate.

  1. Location of the Will must be described. You need to state whether the Will is already in the court’s possession, is attached to your application – or if you’re providing an authenticated copy of “a Will [that’s been] probated in another jurisdiction;”
  2. Reference if the Will has been properly executed. Check to be sure all proper parties signed the Will and that it was duly witnessed and notarized;
  3. Validity of Will statement. You must be able to truthfully state that you have no knowledge (after checking) – that the Will has been revoked;
  4. Statement that you’re filing the application in a timely manner.

Keep in mind that in Minnesota, applications for both informal and formal probate “must be initiated within three years after the decedent’s death.” Always check with your Minnesota probate attorney when you believe that there could be a challenge to the timeliness of filing the application.

Response to Your Application

You should be able to quickly learn if the probate registrar views your application as complete. Once this decision has been made, “the registrar will issue a statement of probate and appoint a personal representative.” After you have successfully filed an application for the informal probate of an estate, the registrar will allow the personal representative to “pay debts and inheritances” – and complete all of the other required tasks without court supervision. Be sure to ask your lawyer what other rules or procedures may apply if the personal property involved in your Minnesota estate is worth less than $50,000.

Should you need to review the types of documents often required during the probate process, please visit an earlier article of ours entitled, “The Most Useful Minnesota Estate Planning Documents.”

Free Initial Consultations

Contact the Flanders Law Firm today.  The firm offers free consultations to all potential clients.  Call (612) 424-0398.

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