Minnesota Probate Series, Part 3: What Type of Probate?

By Chris Tymchuck
Founding Attorney

Minneapolis Probate Attorney Explains the Difference Between a Formal and Informal Probate

You now know that you need to open a probate. But, what type of probate do you need to pursue? Minnesota has both an informal and formal process. What is the difference?

The main difference is that a formal probate requires a hearing and a formal closing. An informal probate does not need either. Why would  you want a formal probate? In most cases, you do not have a choice. Below is a sample list of situations in which courts may NOT allow an informal probate.

  •  The estate cannot pay its debts (insolvent estate).
  •  There are unknown or hard-to-locate heirs.
  •  The Original Will is missing.
  •  The heirs/beneficiaries disagree on how to distribute assets.
  • The heirs disagree on who should be the Personal Representative.
  •  If there are minor heirs.
  •  The decedent has children who are not his surviving spouse’s kids.

For further questions on when you may need a formal probate you should consult with an experienced probate lawyer.


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.