Minnesota Probate Series, Part 2: What Is Probate?

By Chris Tymchuck
Founding Attorney

A Minnesota Probate Attorney Explains What It Means To Open A Probate

If a loved one dies, you quickly learn your ability to handle the decedent’s assets is limited. Financial institutions will tell you to give them “letters” proving your authority to act. You obtain that authority by filing a petition with the Probate Court. The court will appoint you as the Personal Representative.

When filing the petition, you will also file a certified copy of the death certificate. You will also file a copy of the Will, if any, with the petition. The Will names the person to act as Personal Representative.

In some cases, the Personal Representative may need to post a bond to protect Beneficiaries against potential errors. In Minnesota, this is required if there are charitable beneficiaries or an insolvent estate. However, a Will may waive such a bond.

I previously posted a series on the role of the Personal Representative, so will avoid going into detail. As the Personal Representative, your main duties are to:

  • Collect, inventory, and appraise assets;
  •  Pay the valid, non-exempt, debts of the deceased;
  •  Protect estate assets;
  •  Distribute the assets per the terms of the Will or state law;
  • Provide an accounting to the court and beneficiaries.

The above process is not all inclusive. Every deceased person’s estate is different. Minnesota law dictates how and when you may pay debts or distribute assets. You should always contact a Minnesota probate attorney to work with you in handling an estate.

Minnesota Probate Attorney

For more information about how to handle a probate, please contact me now.

About the Author
As a Minneapolis Estate Planning and Probate attorney I help build and protect families through the adoption, estate planning, and probate processes. I also have experience working with families on issues related to their small businesses. I know how difficult it is to find time to plan for the future and I am here to help walk you through it.