Minnesota Probate Law | How Much Does Probate Cost And How Long Does It Take?

by Flanders Law Firm LLC on September 3, 2014

Minnesota probate law

It’s quite common to hear people complain about the pain of the probate system.

Probate is commonly understood to be a long and expensive process, one that wastes time, money and energy. Though many people may be familiar with such common complaints, few understand how long the Minnesota probate process really lasts and how much it can cost. To find out more about the real pain of probate, keep reading.

Minnesota Probate Law | What is probate?

Just to make sure we’re all on the same page, let’s go back and refresh our memory about what exactly probate is. Probate is the process by which a person’s debts and assets are paid and distributed after his or her death. In Minnesota, probate is required when a person dies with real estate in his or her name alone or at least $50,000 in personal property.

Minnesota Probate Law | How long does probate take?

This can be a hard question to answer definitively given how much individual circumstances can impact the length of probate; however, we’ll do our best to discuss some general rules regarding the length of a probate action.

As we’ve discussed, probate is not a speedy process. In the most general terms, Minnesotans can expect the whole ordeal to last from around four months all the way up to a year or more, depending on the specifics of your case. In some especially complicated or contentious cases, 18 months or more is not unheard of.

Minnesota Probate Law | What takes so much time?

Part of the reason probate takes so long is that it is a legal mater, which involves the filing of legal documents. Few things in the court system move with lightning speed and probate is no exception. Beyond that general issue, a key reason for the length of probate is the time given to potential creditors to file a claim against the estate. In Minnesota, creditors must be allowed four full months to file a claim against an estate after receiving official notice of the probate. This ensures all those rightfully owed money have an opportunity to stake their claim, but it also works to slow down the process.

Minnesota Probate Law | What factors can impact the length of the probate process?

Though probate is seen as one uniform process, the reality is that in Minnesota, probate can take many forms. There is a formal and informal probate process as well as supervised and unsupervised probate. Each is used in different circumstances and each involves its own specific peculiarities that can impact length.

Beyond the varieties of probate, the speed of the personal representative whose job it is to shepherd a case through probate can also impact the length of the process. Someone who files papers immediately and acts quickly to notify interested parties can succeed in hurrying an otherwise slow process along. The amount of property at issue, the number of heirs to be tracked down, the amount of debt and number of creditors interested in filing claims against the estate and many other factors can also impact the length of the Minnesota probate process.

Minnesota Probate Law | How much does probate cost?

As with time, the cost of probate varies greatly depending on the amount of money at issue and the general complexity of the case. Especially contested cases will also end up costing the estate more money in executor’s fees, attorney’s fees, court fees, accounting expenses and potentially even bonds. These bills can add up quickly, with experts estimating the cost at between three and eight percent of the value of the total estate.

An experienced Minnesota probate lawyer can help walk you through the complicated process of establishing a workable estate plan. For more information on estate planning in Minnesota, along with a variety of other topics, contact Joseph M. Flanders of Flanders Law Firm at (612) 424-0398.
Source: “Probate and Planning,” published at AG.State.MN.US.

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