Time Limits for Probating a Will in Minnesota

by Flanders Law Firm LLC on September 5, 2017

Time Limits for Probating a Will in MinnesotaTypically, when we discuss timing and probate, the issue concerns how fast (or slow) the probate court is likely to move.

Though this is a common question, and a good one to understand, for some people moving quickly may not be what theyre most concerned about. In such cases, the question is not how fast is probate likely to go, but how slowly can it go? As in all things, there are limitations on how long an executor has to open probate of a will. To learn more about those limits, keep reading.

Probating a Will in Minnesota

First off, what needs to be done to open a probate estate? To start, you need to find the will. This might be easy if youve already discussed the issue with the decedent or it could take some time if not. Once youve found the will, youll need to read through it and prepare a list of beneficiaries and others named in the will or who may have a claim to the estate. Do the same thing with those owed money by the estate. Names and contact information are important as these people will all need to be contacted once the estate is opened in probate. After getting names, do an inventory of assets and liabilities. Finally, its time to meet with an experienced attorney and file paperwork to open the probate estate.

Time Limitations

In almost every state there is a limit to the amount of time the heirs to an estate or the executor have to produce a will that must go through the probate process. The specific time frames can vary widely between states, though a common range is between one and three years. In some places, like Montana or New Mexico, heirs are required to bring forward wills within three years after a persons death. In Texas, heirs have four years. In Pennsylvania, legislators must have been feeling more generous and wrote a 21-year wait time into law.

What happens after the time limit has passed? If you wait too long, youll lose out and courts wont allow a will to enter the probate process. That means if youre in Texas and wait five years to bring a will before the probate court you will likely have the claim rejected, unless theres a good reason.

In some cases, there are ways around what would otherwise appear to be strict time limits. One way that a person could petition the court to allow probate even if the time has come and gone is by claiming that the heirs were not able to discover the will until it was already too late. In other states, the time limits can be extended if the courts have had a hard time identifying and notifying heirs or if an executor cannot be located.

Closing a Probate Process

So far weve discussed the timing requirements when it comes to opening or beginning the probate process. Are there similar time constraints on closing probate? Not usually. The deadline people have to be concerned with is getting the probate case opened on time. Once the case is open, things can sometimes bog down for months or even years. However, the court wont hold heirs responsible for things beyond their control. Instead, executors have to be sure not to drop the ball on the front end and get the case filed within the time limits.

On the other end of the spectrum, are there time limits for how long a person must wait to open probate that you need to be aware of? In some states, yes. For instance, in New Mexico, heirs also must avoid filing for probate too soon. Probate courts in the state wont allow a will to be probated until a certain amount of time has passed since the persons death. In New Mexico the limit is five days, but again, this changes depending on your location.

Minnesota Probate Lawyers

An experiencedMinnesota probate lawyercan 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, contactJoseph M. FlandersofFlanders Law Firmat (612) 424-0398.

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