What is Probate?

The probate for the musician, Prince, is putting Minnesota probates in the news. What is probate and is it really such a terrible thing?

Prince's probate is obviously unique. He had a large estate, no will, and no spouse or children. For the average person, a probate is not such a spectacle.

Probate is the process where your Will (if you have one) is officially approved by the court and your personal representative is appointed. After these initial steps, the court often has little ongoing involvement in your estate. The personal representative proceeds to pay bills and liquidate or distribute the assets.

Who needs probate? Only someone who dies with assets or accounts titled in just his or her own name. Many people avoid probate because all their assets are in a Trust, or are owned jointly with another person, or have "payable on death" beneficiaries set up.

Probates can be relatively simple or they can be costly, especially if the heirs fight or if you have unusual assets.

Whether you need a probate when you die, it is essential to leave your estate as orderly as possible for the person who handles your affairs.

Please contact probate attorney Jill A. Adkins (jill.a@glalawfirm.com), or any of the other attorneys at the Gries Lenhardt Allen law firm (763-497-3099), with your questions about probate or for assistance in getting your estate in order.

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