Practical Solutions for Your Family's Legal Needs

Probate and Estate Administration

For more in-depth information on Probate and related issues, please visit my website, "The Probate Estate" - where I provide practical information on probate and estate planning in Minnesota.

What is Probate?  Probate is a court process triggered by the death of someone who owned probate property (property titled in the decedent's name alone).  Basically, when a person dies, that person's estate often has to go through a sometimes complicated court process to wind up the person's financial affairs.  The Court appoints a Personal Representative (formerly known as Executor) to act on behalf of the estate and administer the estate.  Probate has four main components: 

  1. Application process and appointing a personal representative
  2. Collecting and managing a decedent's assets
  3. Paying the debts of the decedent's estate
  4. Distributing the balance of the estate to the proper beneficiaries

Is Probate Necessary?  Generally, probate is only necessary if the decedent owned probate property (property titled in decedent's name alone) with a net value of greater than $50,000.  Probate property is generally assets such as personal property, bank accounts, automobiles, stocks, and real estate (if titled in decedent's name alone or as tenants in common).  Sometimes, there are circumstances where it may be advisable to go through probate even if technically not required.  

What Do I Charge for Probate Services?  If we determine that probate is necessary, I offer a flat-fee rate for initiating a probate proceeding (i.e. everything through the appointment of a personal representative, including the required court filing fee and publication fee), assuming the probate is uncontested.  This rate includes attorney-client meetings, drafting the necessary documents, serving notice to interested parties, and a court appearance (if necessary) to secure appointment of the personal representative.  It's important to note that personal representatives are generally able to get reimbursement from the estate for expenses paid on behalf of the estate, including attorney fees.

Once a personal representative is appointed, that person has the authority to act on behalf of the decedent's estate.  After the personal representative is appointed, then we can discuss what further attorney services are needed to help you complete the probate and close the estate.  Further services are billed at an hourly rate. 

Additional Services.  Other probate-related services are billed out on an hourly basis, including assistance with:

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Disclaimer: No case or client-specific information is discussed on this website. The content provided is informational only and should not be construed as legal advice.