Probate is the process by which your individual property is transferred to your heirs and beneficiaries upon your death through the guidance and use of the probate court. There are two main types of probate proceedings – informal and formal.

Informal probate proceedings in Minnesota are very common. In an informal probate proceeding, the court receives the probate documents and the public is able to access them. It is not always necessary to make an appearance in probate court for an informal probate. The process is carried out by submitting an application to the Probate Registrar within the county of your loved one ’s death or in the county where the assets are kept. The court reviews the probate documents and if the court finds them acceptable, it will apoint the personal representative. The personal representative then follows the wishes in the will, if there is one. The court’s approval is not removed from the equation, but the process is a lot easier.

The main benefit of an informal probate proceeding is that money and time are saved due to lack of court involvement. If a conflict arises, the informal probate proceedings can be converted into a formal probate proceeding.

When Disputes Occur
Many individuals are able to pursue asset division without court involvement, especially when there are no disputes. It’s when disputes arise amongst family members that the process can become somewhat complicated, but good estate planning on your part can ensure disputes are easily resolved.

Many times, family members may dispute the division of real estate or money. Any time there is a will in place that states the wishes of the deceased, the situation can be easily resolved. It is not uncommon for the contents of a will to be disputed if family members do not believe the deceased still desired its contents at the time of their death. However, the will has a lot of bearing in such cases and, usually, the will wins. If there is also a trust in the hands of a trustee who is aware of the wishes of the deceased, the process can be even easier.

Contact Eastlund Hutchinson at (952) 894-6400.