law offices serving both
the Brainerd Lakes
& Little Falls Area
Moving The Process Forward
Losing a loved one is never a pleasant process. There are challenges and obstacles that only time can overcome. Unfortunately, the legal system is not always at its most merciful or understanding at this time, as the probate system can be quite complex—especially if you do not have any kind of legal advice or expertise to rely on. At Mallie Law Office, our attorneys work hard to make the probate process as efficient, fair, and easy as possible. After all, the last thing you need during such a trying time is yet another emotionally charged challenge.
In its broadest sense, probate is the process of distributing financial and property-based assets of an individual who has recently passed away. The person responsible for this distribution is usually referred to as a “personal representative.” In some cases, the personal representative is designated by a will or other such document. In other cases, the personal representative is chosen by the state in accordance with local laws (for example, closest kin in most cases are designated as the personal representative where other documents make no preference).
The More Complex the Estate, the More Complex Probate Will Be
As we have seen over and over again with our Little Falls and Brainerd area probate clients, the more complicated an estate is, the more complex the probate process will be. This is to be expected. In most cases the probate process can be expediting considerably if there is a last will or testament or a trust in place. However, in cases where such documents are not in place, the probate process can be drawn out. In cases of simple estates, however, you may qualify for a “small estate” probate process.
A small estate probate offers the bereaved a more streamlined, efficient process that can expedite the distribution of property. Minnesota has very specific laws that govern what kind of estates can qualify for this streamlined process, so many of our clients will seek legal advice from Mallie Law Office to explore this possibility. Generally, small estate probate processes do not require any court time and can be resolved via mediation.
What Can Cause a Protracted Probate Process?
Usually everyone involved with any kind of probate process tries to move that process along with as much haste as is possible and responsible. However, there are some elements that can slow down the process:
- A Complex Estate: If an estate is particularly complex, with many assets tied up in property or in, for example, rental income, it can be difficult to divide that equally among family members and loved ones. In the cases of complex estates, legal advice and experience is essential to mediation and negotiation.
- Disagreement in the Family: Any time family members disagree on how to enact the probate process, things can become more complicated. In some cases, family members may sue the court in order to achieve a more favorable out come. In these cases, help from an attorney is vital.
- There is a Lot of Debt: Anytime an estate has to cope with a significant amount of debt, a probate process may be required to help write down some of that debt. Creditors, in many cases, will be understanding but it’s not uncommon for them to want to recoup some of their costs. The help of an attorney can be the difference between paying a reasonable amount and paying an exorbitant amount.
Probate occurs in the state where the person who passed was a resident at the time of his or her passing. The probate process, thus, will follow the laws and regulations of that state.
A Fair and Efficient Process
At Mallie Law Office, we work hard to try to ensure that you receive a fair and efficient end through the probate process. In some cases of simpler probate proceedings, you may not require the aid of an attorney. But in those instances where you do, we recognize that you are going through a trying time—and the attorneys at Mallie Law Office will do everything possible to make sure that the probate process does not add another unwarranted challenge to your life, especially at a time of grief.
That said, the best way to optimize your chances for a favorable result, as our Brainerd and Little Falls area probate clients have discovered, is by enlisting the aid of an attorney. Contact us today to get the help you need.