Berg Myers strives to provide compassionate assistance through the decisions, paperwork and tasks required to settle the affairs after the death of a loved one, including probate, non-probate and trust administration.
Probate is the legal process of transferring the ownership of assets from the deceased person to whomever is rightfully entitled to receive the assets. If the deceased person had a valid Will, that document nominates the Personal Representative and designates how assets will be distributed. If the deceased person does not have a valid Will, the state's "intestacy" laws direct how the assets must be distributed and who has priority to serve as Personal Representative.
when probate is required
In Minnesota, probate is normally required for any assets owned in the sole name of the deceased person. However, probate is not required for certain category of assets: (i) property owned jointly with right of survivorship, (ii) property with a designated beneficiary, or (iii) property titled in a Revocable Living Trust. Even if probate is not required, Berg Myers can assist you with the various steps to settle the decedent’s affairs. For example, affidavits of survivorship, insurance claim forms or affidavits of collection may be required.
formal or informal probate
Most estates can be probated informally, which avoids the need for court hearings and therefore reduces the cost. However, formal proceedings with court hearings are required in circumstances involving questions about the validity of the Will, family disputes, insolvent estates or certain types of assets or beneficiaries. In both formal and informal probates, certain legal procedures are required and various documents prepared. Our role is to help you understand the requirements, guide you through each step of the procedures and prepare the necessary documents.
Insolvency: If the amount of debt exceeds the value of the assets the estate is insolvent, and the court must approve how assets are applied to the debts according to legal priorities.
Medical Assistance: MA or other liens may need to be paid and cleared.
Real Estate outside of Minnesota: Ancillary proceedings may be required.
Taxes: If the gross taxable estate exceeds certain limits, federal and/or state estate tax returns will be required. Income tax returns are frequently required for the deceased person’s final year, as well as for the period of time the estate is open.
Surviving Spouse: The surviving spouse may need to disclaim certain assets as well as update his or her estate plan.