Q What is probate and how does it work?
Probate is the legal process that happens after you pass away. Each state has a probate court with their own rules, so the way things work may vary slightly from state to state. However, the general idea of probate administering your estate remains the same.
The probate court will look at your will, make sure it is valid, and decide how to proceed from there. Officials appointed by the court will usually pay off any debts you have first. After that is done, they'll begin the process of distributing your assets to the beneficiaries named in your will. If you do not have a will, your assets will generally pass on to your spouse. If your spouse is deceased, Minnesota has a table of heirship to determine who is next in line. The list can go very deep if you do not have immediate family, but if you do, it will generally go in this order:
In Minnesota, certain kinds of property and assets do not need to be probated. They include:
- Property owned as joint tenants
- Jointly held bank accounts
- Payable-on-death accounts
- Life insurance proceeds to a specific beneficiary
- Pension benefits with a designated beneficiary
Probate court in Minnesota can take quite a bit of time and be expensive, but it is an important part of distributing your estate accurately and according to your wishes.
Contact Attorney Chuck Roulet at 888-719-5589 if you're looking for a lawyer to oversee your will in probate or if you have any other questions regarding estate planning in Minnesota.