How to process Probate in Minnesota with no will?

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How to process Probate in Minnesota with no will?

Father passed away leaving no will and I live out of the state of Minnesota. What papers can I process and where would I send them to? Or do I need to get a lawyer to handle this matter?

Asked on May 31, 2009 under Estate Planning, Illinois

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 12 years ago | Contributor

Minnesota has something known as "Informal Probate".  These proceedings are non-judicial.  That means they do not flow through the court system in the form of hearings before a Judge.  Probate documents are still filed with the Court and made available to the public, but personal appearances in probate Court are unnecessary.  An informal probate is commenced by filing an application with the Probate Registrar in the county where the death occurred and/or where the assets are located.  Informal probate proceedings eliminate direct court involvement, though they do not eliminate the court's jurisdiction over the proceedings if disputes should arise.  Informal probate proceedings are unsupervised.  That means the personal representative (also called an Executor) may distribute the estate without court authorization. 

Then there is, "Formal Probate Without Supervision".  Formal unsupervised probate may result when a factor occurs such as determining heirship that creates a need for Court involvement.  For example when someone dies intestate (without a will).  Once the Court involvement  is no longer necessary, the matter can proceed informally.  This form of probate allows for the rapid appointment of a personal representative while allowing the Court to make a binding decision related to testacy or heirship.  

There is also "Formal Probate With Supervision".  Under Minnesota Statutes § 524.3-501, once supervised administration of an estate has begun, the jurisdiction of the Court to supervise the proceedings extends until the entry of the probate order approving the distribution of the estate and the discharge of the personal representative. In essence, the supervision lasts until the end of the probate proceeding.  This might be the preferred method if real estate is involved, any of the heirs are minors, or there is a dispute among heirs.

As you can see it can get quite complicated.  Your best bet is to contact a probate attorney in Minnesota and at least get his advice on how to best proceed.  You can find one at www.AttorneyPages.com.

Good luck.

 


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