Probate Lawyer in Minneapolis Helping You with Your Estate Plan
If you have found yourself in charge of a loved one’s affairs or are looking to create your own estate plan, there’s a good chance you are thinking about and possibly dreading a potential trip to probate court. Knowing the situations in which probate is required in Minnesota, and knowing how you can prepare in advance to avoid it, can keep you and your loved ones from potential conflicts that could arise later.
Probate in Minnesota can take a long time, costs money, and can cause a lot of stress. Probate can cause major tension among family members who are already going through a tough time. While the best thing to do is to set up your estate in a way that will not require probate, there’s always the chance someone could contest the will, so you should be prepared. A probate and estate planning lawyer can make sure your estate is set up in a way that ensures your wishes are carried out and that your family is taken care of.
What is Probate?
Probate is the court process for overseeing the management of assets and affairs for people who cannot do so themselves. Most of the probate process is spent overseeing the administration of estates after people have died with or without a will. This includes identification of a deceased person’s assets (finances, properties, businesses, etc.), gathering and liquidating those assets, paying the decedent’s creditors, and finally, distributing the decedent’s assets and property to his or her beneficiaries.
However, there are other details that can arise during the probate process, such as overseeing guardianships and conservatorships. These situations involve incapacitated individuals who are physically or mentally incapable of handling their own health care choices or financial affairs, including young children. To create an estate plan that will hold up in the event that it goes to probate, be sure to hire an experienced probate and estate planning attorney to guarantee the distribution of your estate goes exactly as you have planned.
Is Probate Always Necessary?
For an estate to be administered, someone has to be in charge. This person is called the “Personal Representative,” though some people call this role the estate’s “executor.” Whether or not there is a will, this role requires appointment by the court through the probate process. In Minnesota, whether or not probate is required depends on what kind of assets the deceased person owned, not on whether they had a will or not. Each case must be looked at individually to determine whether it will go through the probate process. Less complicated cases can go through a process called “informal” probate, which does not require a hearing, while more complicated cases will require formal probate, which usually requires one or more court hearings. Some cases do not need to go through probate at all. An experienced probate attorney will quickly gain a clear understanding of your situation and walk you through the entire probate process.
How Does Probate Law Work?
When you file a petition to probate a will, the probate process begins. Some smaller estates can be probated easily and quickly. This allows a will to be probated and the assets distributed after a few forms are submitted, and notices have properly been sent to creditors, heirs, and beneficiaries. That said, many probate cases in the Minnesota probate system go through a much longer, more complicated, and more expensive version of probate.
The probate process involves appointing a Personal Representative (sometimes called an “executor”), notifying beneficiaries and any creditors holding debts, tracking and reporting the estate’s assets, objecting to or paying off debts, paying taxes, and distributing assets to the right beneficiaries at the right time. In the event that there is no will, the probate court will identify the appropriate heirs. Once the heirs are found, the estate is distributed to them under Minnesota’s laws. This may or may not be what the deceased person intended, so it is always best to have a will in place to ensure that the deceased’s wishes are honored. In either case, the assistance of an experienced probate attorney can help to make the process as stress-free as possible for all involved.
Do I Really Need a Probate Attorney?
Nobody wants to go to court, especially directly after the loss of a loved one. If you’re an executor, spouse, or beneficiary who is facing a probate hearing, an experienced probate lawyer can help you to get the results you want while minimizing stress and hassle. Before you reach the point of probate, an experienced probate and estate planning lawyer From Stone Arch Law Office can make sure your estate planning is completed in a way that will carry out your wishes in the event that it goes through the probate process. Give us a call at 612.444.5555 to speak to a trusted attorney to handle any and all of your questions and concerns regarding probate and estate planning.