Minnesota Probate Lawyer

The firm handles all aspects of Minnesota estate administration; including:  probate, collection of debts and assets, transfers by affidavit, notice to creditors and beneficiaries, inventories, distributions, and all other aspects probating the estate.

If you find yourself a personal representative for the first time and don’t know what to do, or, if your family is facing a situation where a loved has died and you aren’t clear on the proper legal procedures, please give the firm a call to discuss how we can help you and your family.

Estate administration can be a very complicated process.  There are many laws and rules to follow and it can be overwhelming for a person who is trying to cope with the loss of a loved one.

I have helped personal representatives and the family members of deceased persons navigate the estate administration process.  There are three forms of typical estate administration.

Small Estate Administration

Fortunately, in a small estate administration, it is not necessary to proceed with a full probate proceeding.  If an estate has probate assets with a net value of under $50,000, the assets can be transferred by affidavit and without the appointment of a personal representative or the opening of a formal probate proceeding.

This also means that there is no notice requirement to interested parties.  In other words, in a small estate, the family member who is helping to liquidate the estate assets won’t have the burden of notifying all interested parties in the estate that an estate has been opened and that assets are being distributed/liquidated.

The small estate transfer process can be accomplished by submitting an “Affidavit for Collection of Personal Property” to the person or entity who possesses the deceased’s personal property.  Personal property includes the deceased’s bank accounts, stocks, furniture and other items of personal property.  However, personal property does not include real estate – such as the deceased’s home.

For further information about small estate administration, please contact Joseph M. Flanders of Flanders Law Firm LLC – a Minnesota probate lawyer.

Unsupervised Estate Administration

The first decision that a personal representative must make in every estate administration is whether he or she should proceed formally or informally.  In an informal, unsupervised administration, the court has less direct involvement with the estate.   This often results in less expense and time involved for the completion of the estate administration.

Whether an estate should be probated in an informal or formal fashion is dictated by the circumstances involved with the estate.  If the deceased person’s estate is not going to be contested, there are clearly identifiable assets and debts, and there will be no valid reason why a judge would need to supervise the estate administration, then an informal proceeding may be the best way to go.

As I stated above, the advantages to an informal, unsupervised estate administration is that the cost in terms of court fees, attorney fees, and other related estate fees are usually lower in an unsupervised estate.  Furthermore, the personal representative will not have to spend nearly as much time probating the estate.  This is because much of the estate administration is done without the involvement of the court.

There are situations where an unsupervised estate administration is either not possible or not desirable.  Please contact the Flanders Law Firm to discuss whether your estate administration can qualify as an unsupervised estate.

Supervised Estate Administration

A formal, supervised estate administration is commenced by the filing a of legal document called a “Petition for Formal Probate of Will and Appointment of Personal Representative.”  This document allows a court to supervise and effectively watch over the entire estate. This formal, supervised administration is the most court-involved proceeding in all of estate administration.

A formal, supervised estate administration is usually required when:

  1. Distributions of estate assets will be made to a minor child of the deceased
  2. There is an uncertainty about who the heirs of the estate are
  3. The whereabouts of any heirs is unknown
  4. There are disputes among the heirs from the beginning
  5. An heir caused the decedent’s death
  6. Any other possible complication with the smooth, uninterrupted estate administration.
As you can see, formal estate administration is more common when there are complications with the estate and how it will be handled.  If you as the personal representative suspects that there will be any problems with the estate and how it is administered through the court, the supervised administration may be the best route for you and your family.
For further questions about formal, supervised estate administrations, please contact Flanders Law Firm.

Free Initial Consultations

Contact the Flanders Law Firm today.  The firm offers free consultations to all potential clients. Call (612) 424-0398.