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Probate

Probate is the process of settling the estate of a deceased person.  If the estate is beyond a certain size and not structured properly, it may need to be settled among the heirs in probate court.

In most states, when a person dies the assets of that person become the property of the surviving spouse without the need for probate.  In states where this is not automatic and for smaller estates, property such as real estate, cars, bank accounts, etc. can be held in joint tenancy between the spouses so the surviving spouse will immediately receive ownership.  Everyone who has a positive net worth should at the very least keep a will naming a primary and secondary beneficiary to avoid potential problems in probate and to make sure their assets pass to the persons they wish.

In the will the estate holder names an executor to execute the terms of the will and handle the distribution of the estate's assets.  If there is no will and assets exist that are not held in joint tenancy, a probate court will decide who receives those assets and will appoint an administrator to distribute and close the estate.

Probate Procedure

Property of the deceased held in joint tenancy with rights of survivorship or other property that contractually passes to another after death in most cases will pass without the need for probate.  These can include bank accounts, real estate, automobiles, proceeds from insurance policies on the deceased and property held in living trusts.

For assets that go to probate, the court collects and inventories the assets of the deceased and pays any outstanding debts and taxes out of the assets.

Even with a will, there may be disputes during the probate process.  A claim on the estate can be made to the probate court by anyone including potential heirs unhappy with the property that they were willed or, more likely, not willed.  The court will determine the validity of any such claims.

Avoiding Probate

An estate in probate can take months to settle and distribute the assets to the proper heirs to the estate.  It can also incur a large expense in legal and court fees that reduces the size of the eventual estate.

Many people use living trusts to avoid having assets go into probate.  Upon death of the trust's owner, the trust is instructed to transfer ownership of the assets in the trust to the intended heir.  Such trusts may avoid some estate taxes but once setup are irrevocable.

Unfortunately, multi-million dollar estates (under current law) are subject to federal estate taxes.  Property included in the tax calculation include property held in living trusts, life insurance proceeds and most other estate assets net of liabilities.  Some trusts may be able to avoid estate taxation, "the death tax", but laws are constantly changing and the advice of legal counsel is necessary to properly structure such instruments.

 

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Probate Estate Marcella Jackson Hastings Star Gazette
Probate Estate Marcella Jackson Hastings Star Gazette It is Ordered and Notice is given that on January 25, 2018, at 9 a.m., a hearing will be held in this Court at Dakota County Judicial Center, 1560 Highway 55, Hastings, MN 55033, Minnesota, on a petition for the formal probate of an instrument

Probate Estate Harry Robinson Republican Eagle Republican Eagle
Probate Estate Harry Robinson Republican Eagle Republican Eagle It is Ordered and Notice is given that on January 9, 2018, at 1 p.m., a hearing will be held in this Court at 454 West Sixth St., Red Wing, MN 55066, Minnesota, for the formal probate of an instrument purporting to be the Will of the Decedent, dated and more raquo

What If A Deceased Person Owes You Money News The Ledger The Ledger
The Ledger What if a deceased person owes you money News The Ledger The Ledger When a person owes you money and dies, all is not necessarily lost, and the funds can still be recovered at times from the deceased person39s probate estate if you the creditor follow proper procedure in a timely fashion.If a person dies and has and more raquo

NOTICE AND ORDER OF HEARING ON PETITION FOR PROBATE Pine Journal
NOTICE AND ORDER OF HEARING ON PETITION FOR PROBATE Pine Journal It is Ordered and Notice is given that on January 5, 2018, at 9:15 a.m., a hearing will be held in this Court at 301 Walnut Avenue, Carlton, MN 55718 for the formal probate of an instrument purporting to be the Will of the Decedent, dated July 19, 2001 and more raquo

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Facts of Law covering estate probate law

Facts of Law - Estate Probate