Free Consultation | Minnesota Wills and Trusts

by Flanders Law Firm LLC on May 2, 2017

The firm is happy to announce that we are now offering discounted Wills and Trusts. We will only be doing this for a limited time.

Please contact the firm to get started with your free consultation. Ask about the discount when you call at 612-424-0398

Joseph M. Flanders and the firm work with clients from every walk-of-life. We have consulted with people whose estates are both big and small. We tailor your estate plan for you and your family. The firm offers Wills, Trusts, Powers of Attorney, Health Care Directive, and advanced directive planning.

Contact the firm today.


MN Probate Court | Subject Matter Jurisdiction

by Flanders Law Firm LLC on May 1, 2017

Minnesota Probate courtIn a probate proceeding, the personal representative of the estate files an application with the probate court in the county where the decedent lived at the time of his or her death.

This process triggers entry into probate court. All counties in Minnesota have probate courts to hear matters relating to the administration of an estate. However, there is some confusion about the scope of a probate courts authority to hear other matters subject-matter jurisdiction in legal parlance. This article clarifies probate court jurisdiction in Minnesota.

Minnesota Probate Law

Historically, Minnesota limited the probate courts jurisdiction over other matters not specifically related to probate. Previously, the Minnesota Constitution gave probate court exclusive jurisdiction over the estates of deceased persons and those under guardianship. In re Petersons Estate, 202 Minn. 21, 39 (1938). Put another way, probate court had jurisdiction only over matters directly connected to the estate in question. However, the Minnesota Supreme Court later held the rule announced in Estate of Peterson no longer applied. Instead, the creation of the Minnesota Court of Appeals essentially consolidated the probate court into Minnesota district courts. In re Estate of Janecek, 610 N.W. 2d 638, 640. (Minn. 2000).

Minnesota Probate Case Law

Estate of Janecek expanded the scope of matters over which the probate court may hear. In re RIJ Revocable Trust 2014 WL 685698 (Minn. Ct. App. Feb. 24, 2014), is an example. The decedent in RIJ Revocable Trust established a remainder trust for spousal maintenance. Id. at *1. Prior to his death, the father revoked the trust, disinherited two of his children, and devised his entire estate to his daughter. Id. The decedents two other children filed complaints in probate court alleging undue influence, breach of fiduciary duty, conversion, and fraud. Id. at *2. The beneficiary daughter challenged the probate courts authority to hear the civil actions. The district court concluded it had subject-matter jurisdiction over trust matters and related petitions and the daughter appealed. Id. at *4. The Court of Appeals upheld the district courts determination of subject-matter jurisdiction and cited the Supreme Courts opinion in Janecek. It noted [t]here is no district court which is not also a probate court, and no distinction between the courts. Id. at *5 (citing Estate of Matthews, 558 N.W. 2d 263, 265 (Minn. Ct. App. 1997). However, the Court of Appeals did opine district courts should clarify the scope of trust proceedings. Id. at *9.

Historically, probate courts and district courts were separate in Minnesota with the former having limited jurisdiction over estate matters. However, Minnesota caselaw altered that distinction and probate courts may hear civil claims related to the administration of an estate.

Minnesota Probate and Estate Planning

For more estate planning advice, contact a knowledgeable Minnesota probateattorney. Joseph M. Flanders and Flanders Law Firm LLC offer free consultation to all potential clients. Please contact the firm at 612-424-0398.


Estate Planning in Minnesota | Different ways of dividing property

April 26, 2017

If you’re preparing to create an estate plan, you might think it’s all pretty straightforward. Simply write down a list of names and you’re done. Once you’re gone, those named heirs will receive their designated items, no muss, no fuss. Though possible, things seldom go so smoothly. Instead, life intervenes and can disrupt your supposedly […]

Read the full article →

Minnesota Estate Planning For Single People

March 31, 2017

One of the big motivators that drives people to get their act together, at least from an estate planning perspective, is the existence of a family. Having a spouse and children to worry about is often the push most people need to step up and start tackling an issue they would normally be content to […]

Read the full article →

Minnesota Probate and Creditor Claims

March 14, 2017

Creditor Claims in Minnesota Probate Estates Minnesotas probate statute attempts to clearly delineate the rules for the administration estates. The underlying purposes and policies of the probate statute are to simplify and clarify the law concerning the affairs of decedents, missing persons, protected persons, minors, and incapacitated persons, and to promote a speedy and efficient […]

Read the full article →

Elder Abuse and Minnesota Estate Planning

December 27, 2016

Elder Abuse Those who are in a position of caring for older and vulnerable adults provide a valuable and courageous service. There are many challenges in providing for vulnerable and partially handicapped adults in health care, financial items, and other matters. However, primary caretakers for vulnerable adults cannot do it all. Often times, they bring […]

Read the full article →

Minnesota Special Needs Trusts

September 26, 2016

Estate Planning, Pooled Trusts, and the Intersection of Federal and State Law Estate planning can take come in a variety of ways. For parents with children with disabilities, the special needs trust (SNT) is a unique estate planning device specifically tailored for beneficiaries with disabilities. The goal of this article is to examine SNTs, its […]

Read the full article →

Estate Planning for Minnesota Farmers

September 22, 2016

Farmers face unique estate planning issues separate from more traditional white-collar careers. The nature and value of assets in a farm presents different estate planning issues for hard working farmers. Because an orderly disposition of farm assets may take years, it is important for farmers to plan early for their retirement. Estate Planning For Minnesota […]

Read the full article →

Do I Need a Will? | Minnesota Estate Planning

September 14, 2016

Do I Need a Will? A will is a document that provides peace of mind to those seeking to have their assets distributed in an orderly fashion upon their death. Although Minnesota does not require individuals to have a will, consulting a knowledgeable attorney about drafting a will ensures that your assets will not be […]

Read the full article →

Taxes in Child Support & Alimony | Minnesota Divorce

August 30, 2016

During a Minnesota separation or divorce proceeding, a court must decide several issues of monetary nature. Maintenance agreements and child support are common and financially important agreements. Unbeknownst to some people, these court-ordered agreements come with tax implications. It is important for those in the midst of a divorce or separation proceeding understand baseline tax […]

Read the full article →