Probate proceedings have a bad reputation. Many people are eager to avoid probate at all costs. However, court oversight of estate administration occurs for a reason.
Some people might embezzle from an estate without any oversight of how they manage the assets someone leaves behind when they die, and many others would make mistakes regarding how they handle financial obligations and other estate matters.
Some adults put a lot of effort into creating an estate plan that helps them avoid probate court entirely. The average estate may require some degree of probate oversight even with an in-depth estate plan. What does the Minnesota probate process entail?
Filing documents and naming a representative
The earliest stages of the probate process in Minnesota involved presenting any estate documents to the probate courts and asking them to appoint a personal representative for the estate.
The individual appointed either in estate planning documents or through the decision of a judge will be the one who manages the estate assets and distributes them to others. After an initial hearing establishing someone’s authority as representative, they can begin the initial probate process.
Settling financial matters
There are numerous parties that will need formal notice of the decedent’s demise. These will include utility companies, mortgage companies, tax authorities and creditors. The representative of the estate will have financial obligations that include settling accounts, filing taxes and communicating with creditors so that they can make claims in probate court.
Distributing assets in accordance with the law and instructions
After properly securing estate assets and communicating with any parties who may have an interest in the estate, the personal representative of the estate can fulfill the final financial obligations of the testator and then begin distributing property among beneficiaries.
In some cases, the liquidation of certain assets, possibly through an estate sale, may be necessary. Frequently, they will require support through this process to ensure that they comply with state regulations and properly manage their responsibilities.
All told, the probate process can easily take more than a year from beginning to end, especially for larger estates that require formal administration and more in-depth probate court oversight. Learning more about what to expect in probate court can help those with some role in an estate’s administration.