ESTATE ADMINISTRATION & PROBATE

The process of administering a loved one’s estate can be complex and overwhelming, especially when you are grieving.  Our attorneys have the knowledge and experience to help you through the process.  Our attorneys serve as compassionate advisers through the entire process.  Clients can be rest assured knowing the probate proceedings are being handled by competent advisers

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2809 Cliff Rd East, Suite 100, Burnsville, MN 55337

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PROBATE & ESTATE ADMINISTRATION FAQ

 

MY SPOUSE DIED.  WHAT DOES THE PROBATE PROCESS ENTAIL?

Probate is a legal proceeding.
Probate is the legal process of safeguarding the assets of the estate, paying creditors, filing tax returns, and distributing the estate assets to the rightful recipients.  Typically, a personal representative is appointed and is in charge of these tasks.

MY HUSBAND DIED.  DOES HIS ESTATE HAVE TO GO THROUGH PROBATE?

It depends.
Probate is not always required.  If it is a small estate ($75,000 or less), probate may not be required.  If all of the assets involved in the estate automatically transferred to beneficiaries upon death, probate may not be required.  However, there may still be a requirement to file tax returns for the decedent and/or the estate.  You should contact Ms. Molinaro or Ms. Davis to discuss the specific estate assets involved in your loved one’s estate before deciding whether or not probate is required.  Even if probate is not required, we can assist you with filing any necessary tax returns.

MY MOTHER DIED; WHO IS THE EXECUTOR OF HER ESTATE?

It depends.
The personal representative (or executor) is typically appointed by the court and is typically the party named in the will.  If there is no will, you can request to be appointed as personal representative.  If you do not agree with the appointment of a certain person as personal representative, you can file paperwork with the court to dispute the appointment.

MY FATHER DIED; WHO PAYS FOR THE COSTS OF PROBATE?

Generally the estate pays for the costs of probate.
The estate usually pays for the legal fees associated with probate (and other ancillary costs).  If you are contesting actions of the personal representative, you might be responsible for your legal costs, but the estate may be responsible in certain situations.

MY MOTHER DIED WITHOUT A WILL.  WHO WILL INHERIT HER PROPERTY?

If someone dies without a will, their estate is considered intestate.
If someone dies without a will, their estate is intestate.  Their property passes according to the intestacy statute.  A surviving spouse has certain rights and typically inherits the bulk of the property (depending on whether there are surviving children).  Children typically come next, followed by parents, siblings, etc.  

MY WIFE AND I HAVE BEEN SEPARATED FOR MANY YEARS.  IF I DIE, WILL SHE GET ANYTHING?  I’D ALSO LIKE TO 
DISINHERIT ONE OF MY CHILDREN.

You can disinherit a child but not a spouse. 
You cannot disinherit a spouse in Minnesota.  Your surviving spouse will be entitled to an elective share of your estate, which depends on the length of the marriage.  However, you can disinherit children in Minnesota, but must have a will or trust in place to do so.  

PROBATE CAN BE COSTLY AND TIME CONSUMING.  MY MOM’S ESTATE JUST WENT THROUGH PROBATE AND I’D LIKE TO AVOID IT FOR MY ESTATE.  HOW CAN I DO THAT?

You can implement estate planning to avoid probate. 
There are two commons ways to avoid probate.  The first is to set up a trust (either testamentary or inter vivos).  In most cases, a trust will not have to go through probate.  A second way to avoid probate is to set up beneficiary designations on your assets, including your home.  Our firm assists clients with estate planning and avoiding probate.  

IS A WILL THE ONLY ESTATE PLANNING DOCUMENT THAT I NEED?

No.

A will is only one piece of the estate planning puzzle.  You should also have a health care directive and possibly a financial power of attorney (depending on your situation).  You should consult with an estate planning attorney to determine what you comprise your estate plan.

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