When Minnesota residents inherit property or assets from their loved ones, they probably expect to get their inheritances as soon as possible. Many of them are surprised to find out that it’s not that easy. Most estates must go through probate before being dispensed to heirs.
Probate is the process by which the court distributes the assets of a deceased person. This takes place even if there is a will. Most probate usually takes anywhere from nine months to a year to complete. Probate is handled by an attorney, and that attorney may take a decent-sized fee to manage it. Some people go out of their way to try to avoid probate so that their assets can be dispensed as quickly as possible. There are times when probate makes sense, and there are times that it would be better to not have to go through the process.
People who may want to consider probate are those who have a lot of debt. This is because probate limits the amount of time that a creditor can go after any debt that someone owes. Once probate is over, creditors can’t collect outstanding debts from heirs after the estate has already been dispensed. In cases where there is no probate, a creditor can actually go after beneficiaries and sue for money that was owed to the creditor from the estate. This can happen long after the money has already been dispensed to the beneficiaries. Probate is also a good idea for people who want to make sure that their last will and testament will be handled exactly how they want it to be handled. This is ideal in cases where there may be a lot of fighting between beneficiaries.
People who are looking into estate planning may benefit from working with firms that have experience in that type of law. An estate planning lawyer may be able to structure a person’s estate in such a way that works out optimally for the beneficiaries.