Minnesota Probate Law | Why does probate take so long?

Why does probate take so long?The law firm is asked by many of its clients about why the probate process takes so long.  There are many reasons and the answer is sometimes difficult to give.

When a person passes away they will often have certain money and/or debts. The probate process is a procedure by which a deceased person’s assets are gathered and his or her debts are paid.

From the date of death, the personal representative of the estate has a certain amount of time to work with a probate lawyer to draft the proper legal pleadings, file them in the probate court, get a certified death certificate from the County of the deceased person’s death, and gather information about the decedent’s estate (just to name a few of the personal representative’s many duties.)

All of these issues take time. However, the main issue behind why probates take so long is that, in Minnesota, creditors have up to four months after the initial publication of notice in the newspaper to file claims against the estate.

In our experience, it takes a month or so after first meeting with a client to have noticed publishing in a newspaper which is published and circulated in the county where the deceased person lived.   This means it will be five months before the creditor claim period runs out.

Litigation, real estate, tax returns

Furthermore, when dealing with the sale of real estate in state, the sale of (or the pending sale) of the real estate will keep the estate open indefinitely. Such factors as the economy and market prices for homes will dictate how quickly a home may sell.

Additionally, the probate lawyers at the firm have experienced cases where the personal representative’s siblings may be still living and their parents home or the parents may been had renters in their home. All of these things cause delay and complications with closing the probate estate.

Another complication is when creditor claims are contested. There may be timesin which a credit creditor feels a credit card bill should be paid.  The personal representative and the probate attorney may not agree on the amount or that the claim should be paid at all. This can result in protracted litigation the court system which, of course, will cause delays.  The law firm typically recommend settlements with creditors; however, settlement may not always be in the best interest of the heirs in the estate.

Additionally, it takes time to locate and liquidate assets as: retirement accounts, 401(k)s, pensions, IRAs, and other accounts.  These funds must then be placed into an estate bank account and, eventually, a tax return may need to be filed in Minnesota and possibly with the federal government.. Typical waiting times for getting unapproved tax return back the state of Minnesota is up to three months.  Furthermore, the tax returns will likely not be filed until the estate is closed or at least until this estate is well underway. All of these things cause delay.

Depending on the complexity and the size of the estate, some probates can take up to 1 to 2 years to fully administer and then distribute assets to beneficiaries.

In conclusion, there are many reasons why a Minnesota probate estate can take a long time to fully administered. The attorneys at law firm do their best to liquidate a states quickly and distribute assets very quickly.

Experienced, Approachable Probate Lawyers

Flanders Law Firm LLC has years of experience working with clients from all walks of life.  The firm takes pride in helping normal people navigate the complicated probate process.  Joseph M. Flanders is licensed to practice probate law in Minnesota, North Dakota, and Indiana.  You can be assured that the firm will have your best interest in mind.

The firm offers experience, practicability, and the attention to detail that your case deserves.   The firm’s probate lawyers pride themselves on being easy-going and not taking themselves too seriously.  The most important thing is the client’s case and achieving a positive result.

At Flanders Law Firm, you will find honest and diligent lawyers.


Joseph M. Flanders

Free Initial Consultations

For further information or advice on your particular Minnesota probate case, contact law firm at 612-424-0398