There are a number of steps that you need to take when filing an informal probate estate administration in Minnesota. Working with a good probate lawyer is probably the best first step.
Contents of Application for Informal Minnesota Probate
A properly appointed personal representative can file an application or a petition for informal probate of their loved one’s estate. There are certain things that must be contained in every Application.
Below is a list of the items that must be in an application or petition for informal probate:
- The case caption. An identification of who the parties are in the case caption. The caption should include the decedent’s name and any known variations thereof. This information is necessary to give proper notice to heirs, other interested parties, and creditors;
- The Petitioner’s name. The Petitioner will be the personal representative or executor of the estate. This person will be asking the court for “permission” to administer the estate. If the court approves the application, it will issue “letters testamentary” to the personal representative;
- The Petitioner’s address. Creditors of the estate are entitled to know the address to the personal representative so that the creditors have a place to present claims that may be made against the estate;
- The Petitioner’s interest. A statement regarding the petitioner’s interest is required by Minnesota Statute 524.3-301(1)(i) and 524.3-402(2). A personal representative who is nominated in the Will has sufficient “interest” to be the petitioner.
- The Decedent’s Birthdate and Birthplace. Minnesota law requires that the petition or application contain specific information about the deceased’s birth date and birth place. This information enables that state to determine whether a notice to a foreign consulate will be necessary because the deceased was born in a foreign country;
- The Decedent’s Date and Place of Death. This information is required because Minnesota law imposes survivorship requirements and limits upon the time to initiate the probate administration. Basically, heirs that survive the deceased by 120 hours may bring a probate administration. Furthermore, Minnesota law provides that an estate cannot be opened if three years have passed since the decedent’s death;
- The Decedent’s Domicile. Domicile is a fancy legal word meaning, more-or-less, place of permanent residence. Domicile is important because it establishes proper jurisdiction and venue. Let us put it this way: if the decedent dies in Dakota County, MN and owned a home in Dakota County, MN, then the domicile is in Dakota County, MN;
- Heirs, Devisees, and Interested Persons. The application must contain statements about who the heirs and other interested persons are, their ages (if minors), and their addresses. Minnesota wants to know who has an interest in ultimate distribution of the estate assets, if any;
- Statement of Relationship/Interest. Like the information related to who the heirs are, Minnesota wants to know if those heirs are the spouse, son, daughter, nephew, grandchild, etc of the decedent;
- Negative Allegations. A negative allegation is a statement required by Minnesota Rules of General Practice 408(a) and 409(b). An illustration of a required “negative allegation” is “[t]hat Decedent left no surviving issue, natural or adopted, legitimate or illegitimate.” This information shows the court that there are no issues with surviving heirs or “issue” and, therefore, certain laws about inheritance and distribution of estate assets apply;
- Procedural Allegations. The personal representative must put information into the application showing the court the proper venue has been chosen. Furthermore, the court is entitled to information about the approximate value of the “probate” and “non-probate” assets of the estate;
- That no other personal representative has been appointed in Minnesota or elsewhere. This one is self-explanatory;
- That no demand for notice has been made. In Minnesota, interested persons, heirs, and creditors can make demands for notice to the proper court administrator. The demands for notice tell the court that the interest persons wants notice as soon as the application for informal probate administration has been filed;
- Whether there was a will. The application must state whether the decedent did or did not leave a Will;
- Priority of the Petitioner. The application must state who the personal representative is and why he or she has “priority” to serve as the personal representative under Minnesota law;
- Whether a bond is required. Minnesota law requires that a bond be paid by a petitioner in certain circumstances. However, that bond can be waived by the court, the heirs, or other interested persons for several reasons – the main one being that the Will states that bond may be waived;
- Type of Administration. The court wants to know if this will be a formal or informal administration and whether the personal representative desire for it to be supervised or unsupervised;
- Signatures. The application must contain signatures for the personal representative and the attorney making the application.
Those are the initial requirements for filing an application for informal probate in Minnesota.
For further questions, please contact Joseph M. Flanders of Flanders Law Firm LLC at 612.360.4721.