The personal representative of an estate, what some people call an executor, has to handle all of the requirements of probate administration. They have to review the estate plan and file taxes. They have to distribute property to beneficiaries and possibly attend probate proceedings.
Frequently, the Minnesota probate courts will oversee estate administration, but it is not always necessary that they do so. Working with the probate courts can mean an obligation to attend hearings and to delay the distribution of assets to beneficiaries.
Can you as the representative of the estate help keep assets out of probate court?
You can file paperwork for small estates
Typically, the necessary planning to keep the state assets out of probate court occurs before someone dies. However, as the representative of the estate, there is still something you can do.
Specifically, you or the beneficiaries who want certain property can file an Affidavit for Collection of Personal Property with the Minnesota courts, provided that the full value of the assets in the estate is will be $75,000 or less and there is no real estate to transfer.
Carefully reviewing the estate to estimate its value and filing the necessary paperwork could help you speed up probate administration and allow you to quickly distribute the assets in the estate. You can also help yourself if you can spot signs that the testator has already taken steps to bypass probate requirements.
What estate planning techniques help?
There are three ways that testators can help limit the necessity of probate proceedings for their estate. Addressing their real estate so that it won’t be part of their estate is one important move. Adding the person who will own the property to the title before death with survivorship rights will keep the house out of probate court.
Making strategic gifts to loved ones so they can enjoy part of their inheritance while the giver is still alive is another option. Finally, trusts are powerful tools for avoiding probate, as they change ownership of assets and keep them from becoming part of someone’s estate.
Knowing what estate planning tools can help limit probate obligations can help a representative determine what degree of probate court oversight is necessary during estate administration.