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Richard D. Bunin Law Offices
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Probate

Minnesota Probate Lawyers Guide Families and Heirs Through Probate

A probate lawyer in St. Louis Park can help you through this difficult time

The time period after a family member dies is known as the probate period. It is often emotional and stressful, especially if that person’s death was unexpected. Family members and friends are left to confront the probate process while they grieve. During that time, a court divides the estate and oversees the distribution of property and other assets.

Richard D. Bunin Law Offices guides our clients through the procedures that must be followed to minimize stress and the emotional impact. We know it is a difficult time, and we handle all matters with sensitivity and discretion. Not all estates need to be probated, but we can help you determine what it is you will need to do. Speak with one of our attorneys to learn more about how we can help during probate.

What happens during the probate process?

The probate process follows someone’s death. That person’s property and assets are inventoried by an executor or personal representative, and the procedures are overseen by a local probate court. Often someone is named as the executor of the estate by the decedent’s will, and is responsible for the inventory and other matters. If someone is not named executor, a court appoints one. During the probate process, a person’s debts are paid as well as any taxes that are due. Once an inventory is completed and any debts have been resolved, the process is closed and the remaining assets are distributed either to heirs set by law where there is no will, or to the people and institutions specifically named in the individual’s will.

Certain property in Minnesota is not subject to probate. This includes:

  • Joint tenancy property
  • Most annuities
  • Most retirement plans and IRAs
  • Payable-on-death accounts
  • Most life insurance proceeds
  • Assets held in living trusts

To learn more, contact one of our probate lawyers in St. Louis Park.

When can a will be contested?

The probate period is the most likely time for a legal dispute to arise. Most often, these occur when potential beneficiaries disagree over the interpretation of the decedent’s will or trust, or do not believe the will is valid. Challenges to the validity of the will usually come in several forms:

  • A lack of mental capacity — The most common challenge to a will alleges that the person lacked the mental capacity to understand what they signed. This can be the result of dementia or other causes.
  • Duress or fraud — Accusations that a person was forced to sign a will, or that the will is a forgery, sometimes arise during probate.
  • A more recent will — Courts must honor the most recent will that a person created.

Minnesota requires a valid will to have certain formalities that must be followed for that document to be honored by the court. Those include:

  • The person making the will must be at least 18 years of age and of sound mind
  • The will must be witnessed by at least two people
  • Those witnesses must also sign the will
  • The will must be in writing
  • The will must be signed by the person making the will or a duly appointed representative
  • The document must be intended to be a will

Speak to one of our attorneys to find out more about probate in Minnesota.

Contact our St. Louis Park office for a free initial consultation about the probate process

Someone who recently lost a loved one or has been appointed the executor of an estate may be confused about the requirements of the probate process. Richard D. Bunin Law Offices can assist you in such times. Our founder, Richard D. Bunin, has more than three decades of experience assisting Minnesotans through the legal procedures following someone’s death. Contact our firm at (952) 544-2345 or online to schedule a free initial consultation.