Probate is the term used to describe the legal process of transferring a decedent’s property to their beneficiaries after their death. It is a court-supervised process that is designed to ensure that the decedent’s estate is managed appropriately. A Minnesota estate planning attorney from Segal Duffek Moen PLLC can assist you with preparing for probate matters, or help your family with probate needs in the event of a loved one’s death.

Does a Will Matter in Probate?

Probate occurs whether or not you have a legal will prepared and on file. When a valid will is in place, the probate process oversees the provisions of the will, seeing that they are carried out as much as possible. If the decedent had no will, the probate court will distribute the decedent’s assets according to Minnesota State Law.

Having a legal will in place does not exempt your loved ones from the probate process. Whether or not your estate will require probate depends on the property held in your estate and how it is titled. For example, any property placed in a trust is not subject to probate and is handled privately. Probate matters are on the public record.

What Happens to My Property in Probate?

Probate oversees the distribution of your property that is not held in trust or otherwise shielded from probate. These types of property are not probated:

  • Jointly owned real estate – it becomes the sole property of the surviving title holder
  • Payable on death accounts – these are distributed by the bank to the listed beneficiaries
  • Transfer on death accounts – ownership of these assets automatically transfers to another upon your death
  • Jointly held bank accounts – these become solely owned by the surviving account holder
  • Life insurance proceeds – these are paid to the designated beneficiaries by the insurance company

What happens if you have probate property? The personal representative named in your will (or a court-appointed trustee if there is no will) is responsible for sending notices to all interested parties, taking control of your assets, paying creditors, distributing the remaining assets and otherwise closing your estate.

If you need assistance with preparing for probate, or if a loved one has died and you need probate advice or assistance, contact Segal Duffek Moen PLLC in Minneapolis at 952-358-7400.