Apple Valley, Minnesota Probate Attorneys
Probate is the legal process of administering an estate of a deceased person (commonly called a “decedent”) to settle their assets for distribution to heirs. Generally, if a decedent owned property in their sole name, their assets must go through probate. Often, the probate of an estate begins within weeks after the decedent’s death, when the family is still grieving. This, along with the fact that most people are not familiar with probate, makes the situation difficult for those involved.
Having an experienced probate attorney from Guzmán LaLonde, P.A. helping you navigate probate will ensure that the process is handled efficiently and thoroughly. An attorney can help you prevent missed deadlines and other errors that result in the delay of estate settlement. The attorneys at Guzmán LaLonde, P.A. provide peace of mind, compassion and emotional support throughout the process; as they understand the frustration that families experience due to probate uncertainties. They acknowledge that probate often extends the grieving process since it can be a consistent and often long-term reminder of the loss of their loved one.
From a time standpoint, probate can be a stressful event as it can take anywhere from several months to over two years, depending on these factors:
- The number and type of assets in the decedent’s estate
- The number of heirs
- Where the assets are located (multiple states can make the probate process complex)
- Whether or not the decedent had a Last Will and Testament
- Will contests or conflicts between siblings or other family members
- Complexities in the estate makeup or distribution to beneficiaries
Informal or Formal Probate in Minnesota – What’s Best for our Family’s Situation?
Since most estates in Minnesota require minimal or no supervision from the court, formal probate is usually not necessary. Informal probate proceedings are generally for simple estates with straightforward assets and distributions to beneficiaries. Also, informal probate suffices when there are no minor children and no disputes are expected. In contrast, formal probate may be necessary if issues exist with the estate that require the court to oversee the process, such as significant or complex assets, or disagreements between family members.
What are the Responsibilities of the Executor or Personal Representative in Probate?
As an Executor or Personal Representative, you will be responsible for the overall management of the estate, and at the appropriate time making the distributions to the beneficiaries. Executors or Personal Representatives who fail, even unintentionally, to carry out their duties may have personal liability. Some of the important steps that an Executor or Personal Representative needs to perform include:
- Locate and identify the decedent’s assets – this includes financial accounts, real and personal property
- Paying valid debts
- Filing an inventory or accounting
- Managing the estate
- Handling decedent’s taxes
- Making the distribution to beneficiaries
Can Some Assets Avoid Going Through Probate?
Some of the decedent’s assets may avoid probate and can be distributed to named beneficiaries directly. These assets include retirement accounts, such as 401(k)s and I.R.A accounts, and life insurance policies. Annuities and other accounts that have beneficiary designations on file with the institution will avoid probate in most cases. If the decedent executed and funded a revocable living trust during his or her lifetime, those assets will also avoid probate.
Help with the Minnesota Probate Process
If you are unsure of how to handle aspects of probate administration, you don’t have to try to figure it out on your own! You can have the attorneys at Guzmán LaLonde, P.A. working with you every step of the way to ensure everything is done smoothly and correctly which also helps to conserve estate funds. If you have been named as an executor in a loved one’s will, or you need to be appointed as Personal Representative and have questions about starting the probate process, feel free to reach out and contact us. We have helped many individuals and families with their probate and estate administration needs, and we can help you too. The attorneys at Guzmán LaLonde, P.A. are here to help guide you and your family members through this difficult time and assist you with your probate responsibilities in a caring, skillful, and thorough manner.
Probate Administration offered by Guzmán LaLonde, P.A.
Guzmán LaLonde, P.A. represents executors and personal representatives of estates and heirs in various probate administration issues and litigation, including:
- Informal and formal probate proceedings
- Asset distributions
- Will contests
- Preparation of federal and state estate and gift tax returns
Twin Cities Probate Law Firm with a Statewide Focus
Guzmán LaLonde, P.A. is located in Apple Valley and serves clients with probate matters throughout Minnesota. Virtual court proceedings make it possible for us to capably and cost-effectively serve clients in every part of the state. Our probate attorneys also regularly help clients in the metropolitan Twin Cities areas of St. Paul and Minneapolis, including Dakota, Scott, Carver, Hennepin, Goodhue, Ramsey, Rice, Washington, and Anoka counties.
We invite you to explore our website to learn more about other services that would benefit you and your family, such as estate planning. Contact us to schedule a consultation regarding your need for informal or formal probate assistance. We look forward to working with you!