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  • Writer's pictureScott Berry

What is Probate?

Probate is a court process that occurs after someone dies. The probate process is subject to a series of laws and rules that direct how the probate is to be managed from beginning to end.

A common misconception is that when an individual has a Last Will & Testament, probate is not required. However, this is not the case. In fact, a Last Will & Testament only provides instructions on how a person’s assets that are subject to probate are distributed and who is appointed to administer their probate estate.

A common misconception is that a Last Will & Testament" avoids the need for probate

Probate requires paperwork to be submitted to court and sometimes appearances in court by attorneys and the individual who is requesting the court appointment them to administer the probate. The individual appointed by the court to administer the probate is commonly referred to as the personal representative or executor. The cost to administer the probate, including the filing fees, lawyers’ fees and administration fees are paid from the property that is probated.

The purpose of probate is to:

  • confirm that the individual has died;

  • determine whether or not the deceased individual had a Last Will or Testament and verify its authenticity;

  • identify the deceased individual’s heirs and beneficiaries;

  • identify, inventory and value the deceased person’s property;

  • pay the deceased person’s unpaid bills and estate taxes; and

  • distribute any remaining property in accordance with the will or as Minnesota directs.

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