Whenever any person has been dead for three or more years and their estate has not been probated, an “interested person” can request that a court issue a Minnesota Decree of Descent.
The questions my clients often ask me is: “Why would I do that?” My answer: “Because, if your loved one has real or personal property that needs to be transferred or re-titled, you need a court order to do that.” Normally, this could be achieved by a probate proceeding; however, if three years have passed, the probate process is no longer available.
Decree of Descent in Minnesota
Under Minnesota law, an “interested party” can file a Petition for Decree of Descent with the appropriate court where the deceased person lived. Much like any court proceeding, the interested party should only file such a Petition in the county where their loved one passed away. In the legal world, we lawyers refer to this as “venue”.
When a Decree of Descent Petition is filed, the Court will fix a time and place for a hearing on that Petition. Notice of the court hearing must be given to the beneficiaries of the deceased person. These beneficiaries could include: a spouse, children, grandchildren, and creditors. Furthermore, notice of the petition must be published in a newspaper for two consecutive weeks – which is the same requirement for published notice in any probate proceeding.
At the end of the day, if you find yourself as the personal representative or executor (or just the child) of a deceased person who has been gone for over three years, you may have no choice but to proceed via a decree of descent.
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Contact the Flanders Law Firm today. The firm offers free consultations to all potential clients. Call (612) 424.0398.