The simple truth is that there is a seemingly endless list of tasks to complete in the immediate aftermath of a loved one's passing from contacting friends and family to making funeral arrangements.
Indeed, things often don't get any easier once these tasks are complete as there are often estate administration issues that must be addressed.
Unfortunately, navigating these estate administration issues -- especially the probate process -- is not always easy given the grieving process, and the inherently complex and arcane nature of the law.
In recognition of this fact, today's post, the first in a series, will seek to provide some basic background information on the probate process in an effort to provide parties with a better understanding of what lies ahead and demystify some longstanding myths.
What purpose does the probate process serve?
In general, probate is the legal process by which a deceased person's estate is settled. It starts with the filing of a petition with the probate court and the appointment of a personal representative.
Under what circumstances must an estate go through probate?
There are three scenarios in which probate will prove necessary. First, the deceased owned real property (i.e., real estate) in their name only or as a "tenant in common" with other parties. Second, the deceased owned personal property in their name only worth $50,000 or more. Third, the deceased owned a combination of real property and personal property (regardless of value) in their name only.
Under what circumstances does an estate not have to go through probate?
Probate is typically unnecessary when the deceased either owned no real property in their name only and/or owned personal property in their name only worth less than $50,000.
We'll continue to explore this important subject in future posts ...
Consider speaking with an experienced legal professional if you have questions about estate administration issues or require assistance with the probate process.
Source: Minnesota Judicial Branch: 2nd District, "Estates," Accessed Dec. 10, 2014