There are many misconceptions out there regarding estate planning and the probate process in Minnesota. Proper estate planning does not only provide safety and security for assets during the lifetime of the planner, but it can also save significant expense and headaches for heirs after death. One of the most common statements I hear during initial consultations with clients wanting to begin the probate process is, “if my parents had a will, then I shouldn’t have to go through the probate process through the court, right?” Unfortunately, most of the time that answer is no, and a probate case needs to be opened with the courts. Even if your loved ones have left behind a will, it is likely court action is required to distribute the assets. This is particularly true if the decedent left behind real estate that is located in Minnesota. If the decedent owns property in Minnesota that is not otherwise transferred upon their death, a probate is required to distribute the property to heirs or sell the property.

This, however, can be avoided with the proper estate planning advice.  In addition to discussing a strategy and plan for probate, our office is adept at working with beneficiaries of a decedent’s assets to distribute those assets in a manner that makes sense for all involved, even if it is not exactly to the letter of the will or the law. This most often occurs when one of the heirs wants to live in their parents’ home, or one of the beneficiaries wants to keep the family cabin in the family. There are many other examples, but discussing these issues with an attorney is important since documentation may need to be drafted to accomplish the goals of fulfilling a loved ones’ wishes in the most cost effective manner. If a loved one has recently passed away, please contact Miller & Stevens for a free consultation for help through the Probate process. In addition, having an attorney on your side before and during a probate case will help alleviate any additional burdens placed on the Personal Representative (Executor) and the heirs. The time after a loved one passes away should be spent celebrating their life, and not having to deal with unruly creditors, the court system, or complicated paperwork.

Miller & Stevens is also available to help those who want to create or modify an Estate Plan. Our office helps clients with Powers of Attorney/Living Wills and Wills & Trusts, including Special Needs Trusts, Supplemental Needs Trusts, and Pour-over Wills with a Trust. The attorneys here will also work with clients to develop a strategy that best fits their needs and with a goal in mind to avoid the Probate process through the court system, if possible. For those decedents with nominal assets, we can also help avoid the Probate process by filing the necessary paperwork with the Court. Whatever your Estate Planning or Probate need may be, Miller & Stevens is here to help every step of the way.

Please contact our office to set up a free consultation regarding estate planning or probate at 651-462-0206.