Hennepin Probate / Mental Health Court

Hennepin County District Court »

Probate Court handles cases involving the property of deceased persons, wills, trusts, guardianships and conservatorships. Mental Health Court handles civil commitment cases.

* Notice to Guardians: Each year you must complete, sign and file the Annual Reporting forms within 30 days of the anniversary date of being appointed as guardian. Follow all of the steps in the Instruction Guide for Annual Reporting (Hennepin).
Quick Links:

District Court Seeks Attorneys for Guardianship/Conservatorship Panel

Effective September 7, 2016, Probate / Mental Health Court is now accepting applications for its Guardianship / Conservatorship Attorney Panel. » Learn how to apply and get more details.


Effective July 1, 2016, upon reaching the age of majority (18 years old), an account beneficiary must file a request with the court to access money deposited in restricted accounts. 
 
  • The beneficiary must fill out a Petition for Release of Funds and file it with the court either in person, by U.S. mail or in our eFile system. There is no fee to file the petition.
  • The court will then issue an Order and provide one certified copy to the petitioner at no cost. In most cases, the court issues orders on the same business day, or within 1 to 2 days of the filing.
  • If original financial source documents were previously filed with the court, the beneficiary must submit proof of identification in person to the court for the release of the financial documents. Please call the court at (612) 348-6000 to determine if original financial source documents are on file with the court.
The court will not grant the release of funds to anyone other than the named beneficiary (minor who turned 18) or guardian of an adult ward without a subsequent court order.
Effective June 2, 2015, the Probate Division changed the way cases are scheduled on court calendars. When "commending" or "account hearing" petitions are filed, the actions will be scheduled on the following days:
 
  • Formal Estates (Commencing) - Monday mornings;
  • Guardian/Conservator (Commencing & Accounts) - Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday mornings;
  • Trusts (Commencing & Accounts) - Wednesday afternoons.
The filing party must include either a cover letter with the petition, or the party must add a comment in the eFile & Serve envelope specifying the dates that will not work for his/her schedule, if conflicts exist. If you don't include specific dates, then we will assume the matter may be scheduled on any date. The court will notify the filing party of the hearing date as soon as possible. Court hearings are typically scheduled within 45 to 60 days of receiving a petition.
Notice: Attorneys handling Estate cases in the Hennepin County Probate Court must file a proposed "Notice and Order for Hearing/Notice to Creditors" with the court. The court will complete the document by entering the hearing date and obtaining the judicial signature. The completed Notice/Order will be sent to the filing attorney for service and publication. Note: The court (or any other agency or entities thereof), does not assume any legal liability, financial liability or responsibility for the accuracy of information in the document after it is returned to the filing attorney. It is the responsibility of the filing attorney to ensure all information on the document is correct prior to service and publication.
Notice: Conservators appointed by the court must e-file their annual reports using MyMNConservator (MMC).
Hennepin County Government Center

4th District Probate / Mental Health Court
Hennepin County Government Center
300 South 6th Street, C-400
Minneapolis, MN 55487  Map »
Courtrooms: Floors C4 and C5

Phone: (612) 348-6000 Probate/Mental Health
Fax: (612) 348-2130
Email Probate / Mental Health Court »

Hours:
8:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
Monday - Friday
Closed Holidays

Going to Court » parking, transit, more...

Probate Registrars
Phone: (612) 348-8784 or (612) 348-8783

Court Visitor
Mai Khou Yang
Phone: (612) 348-3265
Learn more about the role and responsibilities of a Court Visitor.


We are located on floors 4 and 5 of the C-Tower in the Hennepin County Government Center. Please allow extra time for weapons screening when you visit the courthouse.

NOTICE:

Anyone who seeks to be appointed as a guardian or conservator in the Hennepin County Probate Court must watch the Guardianship / Conservatorship Educational Video and file the Oath and Acceptance Form (#GAC 1-U) before they appear at their initial hearing. Click the Videos sub-tab in this section for more details.

What is guardianship

A legal arrangement under which a guardian who is appointed by a court, has the legal right and duty to care for another person (the "ward") because of the person’s inability to legally act on his or her own behalf due to minority or mental or physical incapacity.

What is conservatorship

A conservatorship is similar to a guardianship except that the conservator who has been appointed by the court has powers and duties over the incapacitated person’s estate.

Who are wards

Wards are minors or incapacitated adults who have a court appointed guardian, lack sufficient understanding or capacity to make or communicate responsible personal decisions, and who have an inability to meet personal needs for medical care, nutrition, clothing, shelter, or safety.
 

Who are protected persons

Protected persons are those individuals who have had conservators appointed for them because they lack similar capacity and have demonstrated an inability to make decisions regarding their financial affairs or estate.


Successors

If the court appointed you to be a guardian and/or conservator, but you are no longer able to serve in that role, you should consult with an attorney right away about asking the Court to appoint a Successor Guardian or Conservator by completing and filing a new Petition for Appointment of Guardian or Conservator Form #GAC 5-U. To ask the court to discharge you from your role, you must file a Petition with the court and identify someone else who may be qualified to serve as a guardian and/or conservator.


Learn more in the Guardianship and Conservatorship Help Topic »


Court Visitor in Hennepin:

Mai Khou Yang
Phone: (612) 348-3265
Role and responsibilities of a Court Visitor »
How can I find out if a guardianship or conservatorship has been established for a person in Hennepin County?
You could search the online court records in MPA Remote or call the Probate Court at (612) 348-3244.

What is the difference between a guardian and a conservator?
A guardian is appointed to make the personal decisions for the protected person (ward). The guardian has authority to make decisions on behalf of the protected person about such things as where to live, medical decisions, training and education, etc. A conservator is appointed to make financial decisions for the protected person (conservatee). The conservator typically has the power to enter into contracts, pay bills, invest assets, and perform other financial functions for the protected person.

Who is the ward or protected person?
Wards are minors or incapacitated adults who have a court-appointed guardian, lack sufficient understanding or capacity to make or communicate responsible personal decisions, and who have an inability to meet personal needs for medical care, nutrition, clothing, shelter, or safety. Protected persons are those individuals who have had conservators appointed for them because they lack similar capacity and have demonstrated an inability to make decisions regarding their financial affairs or estate.

What is a court visitor?
The Court Visitor is someone appointed by the Judge to serve, personally, the Order for Hearing/Notice of Rights and Petitions for Guardianship/Conservatorship on respondents. Click the Contact Us tab on our Probate Court webpage to see the Court Visitor for Hennepin County.

I have been appointed by the court to be a guardian and/or conservator. What do I do now?
The guardian or conservator is accountable to the court for decisions made on behalf of the ward or protected person. A guardian’s or conservator’s actions are subject to review and direction by the court.

Go to Annual Reporting Duties for Guardians »
Go to Annual Reporting Duties for Conservators »

What is my anniversary date (also known as reporting date)?
The anniversary date is the date the Letters of Appointment are signed and dated by the judge.

What happens after the hearing?
  • The court may grant conservatorship or guardianship as requested in the petition, and then issue an Order stating that fact.
  • The court may decide that the person needs less assistance than what was requested in the petition and issue an Order granting more limited powers to the conservator.
  • The court may determine that the individual does not need a conservator or guardian and dismiss the petition.

Can a guardianship or conservatorship end?
Yes. A guardianship or conservatorship ends (terminates) when one of the following happens:

  • the guardian or conservator resigns or is removed by the court;
  • the ward or protected person is restored to capacity;
  • the ward or protected person dies; or
  • the court makes a determination of incapacity of the guardian or conservator.
To terminate a guardianship or conservatorship, you should talk with a lawyer to find out which forms to use in your situation and the required procedures.

What if a guardianship or conservatorship was established in Hennepin County and the ward or protected person moves out of Hennepin County or Minnesota?
You should notify the court right away if the ward has moved out of Hennepin County’s jurisdiction. You should talk with a lawyer to find out which forms to use in your situation and the required procedures.
 

Learn more in the Guardianship and Conservatorship Help Topic »

Guardianship / Conservatorship Forms »

Note: The MN Judicial Branch does not publish instructions for every guardianship or conservatorship form, but you can learn about the process by reading the Conservatorship & Guardianship Manual. You should talk with a lawyer to find out which specific forms to use in your situation and the procedures involved. Court Administration can tell you about the fees that must be paid. Another good resource for finding forms and how-to information on legal issues is your local law library.
 
NOTICE:
Effective December 1, 2011,
the Hennepin Probate Court requires that all proposed Guardians and Conservators watch the Guardianship and Conservatorship Educational Video, and file the Hennepin-specific Oath and Acceptance form before they appear at their initial hearing.

This video was produced for general educational purposes by the Minnesota Judicial Branch. The content is not a substitute for legal advice from a lawyer. The information is based on Minnesota laws, but some information may be specific to a particular judicial district or county court.

Full video - Guardianship and Conservatorship Video (34 min.)
Segment 1. Introduction to Guardianship / Conservatorship
Segment 2. What Guardianship Is and Is Not (starts at 1:25)
Segment 3. Less Restrictive Alternatives to Guardianship / Conservatorship (starts 5:10)
Segment 4. Duties and Responsibilities of a Guardian (starts at 6:35)
Segment 5. Duties and Responsibilities of a Conservator (starts at 11:35)
Segment 6. Annual Reporting Requirements and Oversight by the Court (starts at 17:57)
Segment 7. Common Issues and Problems (starts at 24:10)

Duties of Guardians


If you are appointed as a guardian in a guardianship case, you must complete certain tasks every year that the guardianship is in effect.
  • Step 1: Mark the date you were appointed as a guardian on your personal calendar, and then make a note of that anniversary date every year that the guardianship is in effect.
  • Step 2: Download and print the Annual Reporting Forms Packet #GAC11-U from this website. The packet includes three forms:
    • Personal Well-being Report;
    • Annual Notice of Right to Petition for Restoration to Capacity or Other Relief; and
    • Affidavit of Service.
  • Step 3: Every year that the guardianship is in effect, within 30 days of the anniversary date of being appointed as a guardian, you must fill out and sign the Annual Reporting Forms. Note: If there is more than one guardian, each co-guardian must fill out and sign a set of forms.
  • Step 4: The guardian(s) must make copies of their completed Annual Reporting Forms, and then arrange to serve (deliver) copies to the ward and all interested persons whose names are on record with the court. Service can be done by mail or in person.
  • Step 5: Once service has been completed, the guardian must fill out and sign the Affidavit of Service form included in the packet. That is a sworn document that says service was completed. You file the Affidavit of Service with the court, but you do not have to give copies of it to anyone else.
  • Step 6: The guardian(s) then must file the original copy of their Annual Reporting Forms with the court, including the Affidavit of Service, within 30 days of the anniversary date of being appointed as guardian.

Duties of Conservators


If you are appointed as a conservator, you must complete certain tasks every year that the conservatorship is in effect.
  • Step 1: Mark the date you were appointed as a conservator on your personal calendar, and then make a note of that anniversary date every year that the conservatorship is in effect.
  • Step 2: Within 60 days of being appointed as conservator, go to the online MyMNConservator (MMC) system and file an Inventory Report. You only have to do this step one time when you are first appointed as conservator. Tip: To save time entering information into MMC, gather details about the ward’s property and assets before going online. As a worksheet, you could use the Conservatorship Inventory Form #GAC13. If the ward in your case does not have certain property, you may leave those things blank. You do not need to file this form worksheet with the court, but you must enter the information into MMC.
  • Step 3: Every year that the conservatorship is in effect, within 30 days of the anniversary date of being appointed as a conservator, you must log onto to the MyMNConservator system and file an annual accounting. Conservators may be also required to file an original Verification of Funds on Deposit Form #15-UVF and/or Verification of Stocks and Securities Form #15-UVS with the court in paper format, so check with your local court about requirements in your case.
  • Step 4: Every year that the conservatorship is in effect, within 30 days of the anniversary date of being appointed as a conservator, you must also fill out and sign the Annual Notice of Right to Petition to Restoration to Capacity Form #GAC10-C. Then you must make copies of your completed form and arrange to have copies served (delivered) to the ward and all interested persons whose names are on record with the court. Service can be done by mail or in person.
  • Step 5: Once service has been completed, then the conservator must fill out and sign the Affidavit of Service form included with the Annual Notice of Right to Petition for Restoration to Capacity Form #GAC10-C form. That is a sworn document that says service was completed. You must then file the completed Affidavit of Service with the court, but you do not have to give copies of the Affidavit to anyone else.
  • Step 6:The conservator then must file the original copy of the Annual Notice of Right to Petition for Restoration to Capacity and the Affidavit of Service with the court within 30 days of the anniversary date of being appointed as conservator.
Conservators appointed by the Hennepin Probate Court must electronically file their annual reports using MyMNConservator (MMC).
 
If you are appointed as a conservator, you must complete certain tasks every year that the conservatorship is in effect. Learn more about Duties of a Conservator on the tab in this section.
If the court appointed you to be a guardian and/or conservator, but you are no longer able to serve in that role, you should talk with an attorney right away about asking the court to appoint a successor guardian or conservator.

You will have to complete and file a new Petition for Appointment of a General Guardian or Conservator to ask the court to discharge you from your role and identify someone else who may be qualified to serve as a guardian and/or conservator.

The court does not publish step-by-step instructions for the petition, but the Guardianship / Conservatorship Manual explains the basics on legal terms, forms, and the court process. We strongly encourage you to get help from an attorney.
Probate Court has jurisdiction over cases involving the disposition of property owned by people who have passed away; administration of court-supervised trusts; and proceedings to create guardianships or conservatorships for minor children, incapacitated or incompetent adults.
 

Different Types of Probate Procedures

  • Affidavit of Collection of Personal Property
  • Informal Probate
  • Formal Unsupervised
  • Formal Supervised
  • Summary
  • Descents
The following is a list of some of the laws and rules that relate to Probate cases. We encourage you to talk with a lawyer to get advice on how the laws and rules may affect your case.
 

Probate Court Forms »

The MN Judicial Branch publishes some statewide probate forms, but not every probate form. You could also get forms at a law library, from a legal forms publisher, or from an attorney. You should get advice from a lawyer to decide which forms to use in your case.

Formal Probate Forms (Hennepin):
 
All Formal Estate Letters (supervised and unsupervised) are issued by the Presiding Judge or a Referee.

To complete the process of getting Letters more quickly, please submit the following documents to the court before the hearing:
  • Preapproval of any demand for bond;
  • Acceptance and Oath;
  • Email proposed Orders to the hearing officer assigned to your case.
To check the status of getting Formal Estate Letters, go to the online case records system and view the Register of Actions for the case.

If the Order Appointing the Personal Representative is not yet entered, please contact the law clerk for the judicial officer in your case: If the Order Appointing is entered, but the Letters have not been issued, make sure that all qualification documents (Acceptance and Oath, Bond, etc.) have been filed with the court.

If both the Order Appointing and all qualification documents have been filed, but the Letters have not been issued, call court administration at (612) 348-6000 to check on the status of the Letters.

You can get certified copies of court documents filed in a case at the District Court Records Center.
Probate Registrars work for the court, and they process all estates that are filed as "informal probate" (unsupervised) cases. Informal probate is a court process designed for estates that do not involve any uncertainties, legal disputes, or complex administrative requirements. Registrars may decline an application for informal probate if it fails to meet the statutory requirements or if the estate is deemed to be unsuitable for informal probate. This does not preclude appointment in "formal" proceedings before the court.

An application for informal probate will not be accepted if any of the following conditions apply:
  • The estate is insolvent;
  • There are unknown or missing heirs in intestacy;
  • There is a missing devise(s) in a testate estate;
  • Lost Will;
  • The original Will has date problems or has markings on it that require a Will construction or that change an amount of a distribution;
  • There is disagreement among the heirs or devisees;
  • There is a distribution to a special needs trust;
  • There are outright distributions to a minor;
  • Minor child, surviving spouse and homestead in intestacy;
  • Minor bequest to an unnamed custodian;
  • Residue to a custodian for a minor;
  • Not all nominations/renunciations filed;
  • Non-family member attorney to serve as a personal representative.
The Registrars conduct informal hearings with attorneys and ProSe individuals (persons acting without an attorney). The informal hearing consists of a review of the application, will and other supporting documents required to commence the informal probate proceeding. The application is either accepted or denied based on compliance with state statutes, court rules and court policies. If the application is accepted, the Personal Representative is appointed by Probate Registrar to administer the estate. The Registrars can be reached at: (612) 348-8784 or (612) 348-8783.
The following is a list of some of the laws and rules that relate to Probate cases. We encourage you to talk with a lawyer to get advice on how the laws and rules may affect your case.
  Learn more about Laws, Rules & Legal Research at Self-Help Centers.
 

Deposit of Wills with the Court During Testator’s Lifetime ("safekeeping" purpose):

Pursuant to Minn. Stat. § 524.2-515, a testator or his agent may deposit the testator’s will with any court for safekeeping. This is similar to placing the will in a safe deposit box at a bank. The statute provides the following safeguards:
  • the will must be sealed;
  • the will must be kept confidential;
  • once deposited with court, the original will may only be delivered to the testator or a person authorized in a writing signed by the testator to receive the will;
  • a conservator or guardian may be allowed to examine the will of a protected person under court procedures designed to maintain confidentiality;
  • upon receiving a certified death certificate for the testator, the court may deliver the will to the appropriate court.
Currently, there is a fee for depositing a will with the court. A testator may deposit a will, codicil(s) and separate writing(s) all for the same fee. If the documents are deposited separately, there will be separate fees.

If a testator dies while living in the county where the will is deposited, an "interested party" may get a copy of testator/decedent’s will by filing a Petition for Copy of Will for Safekeeping and a certified death certificate for the testator.
 

Deposit of Wills after Testator’s Death ("custodial" purpose):

The law in Minn. Stat. § 524.2-516 says that upon the “death of a testator and on request of an interested person, a person having custody of a will of the testator shall (emphasis added) deliver it with reasonable promptness to an appropriate court.” If the custodian of a will does not deliver it to the court, the consequences could include:
  • the person who fails to deliver the will is liable to the aggrieved party for damages resulting from the failure;
  • the willful refusal after being ordered by a court in a proceeding to compel delivery of the will makes the person subject to the penalty for contempt of court.
Currently, there is no fee for depositing a will for custodial purposes.
A trust is an agreement between one or more people to hold assets for the benefit of another person or entity. Title to the trust assets is held by the "trustee" who has the legal duty to administer and distribute the trust assets for the benefit of the beneficiary. Trusts are usually established in writing and are signed by the "trustor" who is the person who creates the trust.

Most trusts are private agreements between the trustor and trustee, and courts are usually not involved in those agreements. Only some trusts are supervised by the court, meaning the court approves the selection of the trustee and approves the accounts of the trustee. The trustee itemizes receipts and disbursements (see a sample Trustee's Accounting Form, Rule 417.02).

There are many kinds of trusts. The most common ones include:
  • Discretionary Trust: a trust that grants a larger amount of discretion to the trustee to distribute the trust income or principal to the beneficiary.
  • Inter Vivos Trust: a trust that is created by a transfer during the trustor's (creators') lifetime. This is most commonly referred to as a living trust.
  • Irrevocable Trust: a trust that cannot be revoked or amended.
  • Revocable Trust: a trust that can be revoked or amended.
  • Supplemental Needs Trust: a trust established for the benefit of a disabled person to supplement the government benefits received by the beneficiary.
  • Testamentary Trust: a trust created pursuant to the terms of a will and takes effect at the time of the trustor's death.

The following is a list of some of the laws and rules that relate to trusts. NOTE: This website is not a substitute for legal advice. Talk with a lawyer if you need advice or want to know how the laws and rules apply to your situation. Read What Court Staff Can & Cannot Do.

The Mental Health - Civil Commitment unit in Probate Court handles the legal process involving commitment of people to treatment centers based on allegations of mental illness, developmental disability, chemical dependency, psychopathic personality, and referrals from Criminal Court. We process Petitions for Judicial Commitment, Petitions for Administration of Neuroleptic Medications, and Petitions for Administration of Electroconvulsive Therapy. The Mental Health unit is governed by Minn. Stat. § 253B.

For medical providers: you may now submit records to the court using our e-Medical Records web portal.

Types of Commitments

The six types of civil commitment proceedings are:
  • Mentally Ill persons (MI) - Persons that are mentally ill and as a result, pose a danger to themselves or others;
  • Developmentally Disabled (DD) - Persons that are developmentally disabled and as a result, pose a danger to themselves or others;
  • Chemically Dependent persons (CD) - Persons that are chemically dependent, unable to manage personal affairs, and as a result, pose a danger to themselves or others;
  • Persons Mentally Ill and Dangerous to the Public (MI&D)- Persons that are mentally ill and as a result, have caused or intended to cause serious physical harm to another and are likely to take such action in the future;
  • Sexual Psychopathic Personalities (SPP) - Persons who have an utter lack of power to control their sexual impulses as the result of a mental disorder and therefore pose a danger to the public;
  • Sexually Dangerous Persons (SDP) - Persons who have a mental disorder who have engaged in and are likely to continue to engage in harmful sexual conduct.

Petition Process

The civil commitment process begins with a request to file a petition for commitment. Generally, either a family member or the treating hospital serves as the petitioner. The petitioner requests that the patient be placed involuntarily under the care and supervision of a hospital or regional treatment center because of one of the six reasons discussed above.

This request for petition and all of the attachments that describe the patient's recent behavior and reasons supporting commitment are forwarded to the County pre-petition screening team. This team reviews the petition, investigates the allegations, interviews the patient and other interested persons and reviews the patient's records.

After collecting and reviewing all relevant information, the team determines whether to continue the commitment process. If the team rejects the petition, it is sent back to the petitioner who may appeal this decision directly to the County Attorney's Office. If the team recommends commitment, it drafts a report summarizing all of its investigations and submits this to the Civil Commitment Unit of the County Attorney's Office.

An Assistant County Attorney reviews the petition, all the attachments, and the pre-petition screening report to insure that all of the requirements necessary for a valid commitment are met and that there is sufficient evidence to prove the underlying behaviors and that commitment is the least restrictive alternative available to the patient. If the County Attorney's Office approves the petition, the matter is set for a pretrial hearing.

Once a petition is filed for the commitment of a patient, an attorney is selected from a pre-appointed panel to represent the patient throughout the commitment process. The patient also has the option of hiring their own private attorney. This attorney is an advocate for the patient's interests and informs the patient about the commitment process and the law.

Court Process

The court process consists of three statutorily required hearings, beginning with the preliminary hearing. This hearing provides an opportunity for a voluntary agreement to be entered into by all the parties that may eliminate the need for further hearings. If a settlement is not reached, the court determines whether the patient presents an imminent danger to himself or others. If the court finds that there is an imminent danger, the patient is held in a secure facility.

The court then appoints an examiner and the patient selects a second examiner to conduct a pre-hearing examination. These licensed professionals examine the patient and submit reports to the court with their recommendations concerning commitment. These examinations are independent of those done by the staff at the treating hospital.

After completing the above examinations, the case is heard by a judge in a full judicial hearing. The petitioner, through their counsel the County Attorney, calls witnesses and submits evidence showing that all of the requirements for commitment have been satisfactorily met. The patient is then allowed to submit evidence to show that he or she does not meet the conditions necessary for commitment, or that there is a less restrictive alternative available for them.

The judge then makes a determination, based on all of the evidence, regarding the level of treatment needed by the patient. The judge may dismiss the petition completely or may structure a treatment plan that the patient agrees to comply with. If necessary, the court may commit the patient to a treating hospital under the care and supervision of the court and the hospital. In extreme cases, the court may even order a patient to receive medications that the patient does not wish to receive. This only occurs after a separate hearing is held to determine that this action is appropriate. This hearing is often known as a Jarvis hearing.

Most patients are committed to either a public or private hospital for treatment with the Anoka-Metro Regional Treatment Center serving as a back-up location. Most initial commitment periods cannot exceed six months. After six months, the court is required to review the matter following a full trial hearing, and decide whether to extend the commitment up to a maximum of twelve months. However, in cases involving Mentally Ill and Dangerous Persons, Sexual Psychopathic Personalities, or Sexually Dangerous Persons, commitment is of an indefinite duration. Periodic reviews are conducted by the court to determine whether the initial commitment remains valid.

back to top ▴
The Mental Health Unit is governed by MN Statutes § 253B.
  • Self-Help Center (Hennepin) – people representing themselves in the Hennepin courts can visit the Center to get help with court forms and procedures. The Center also hosts a free legal advice clinic staffed with volunteer attorneys.
  • MN Courts Self-Help Center (statewide) – staff can respond to questions by phone or email on court forms and procedures, and give referrals for legal advice.
  • Help Topics on the MN Courts website include information on guardianship, conservatorship, probate, estates, and more.
  • Hennepin County Law Library – open to the public

Related Links

4th District (Hennepin) Court Fees »


Q: What is the filing fee to open a case?
The filing fee is $324.00 for all Estates, Trusts, Guardianships and Conservatorships.
 
Q: How much are certified copies of Letters?
Certified letters are $16.00 per copy of a document.
 
Q: How much are certified copies?
Certified copies are $16.00 per copy of a document.
 
Q: How much are plain copies?
The fee is $10 for plain copies of filed or un-filed documents and correpspondence.

Q: How much are exemplified copies?
Exemplified copies are $16.00 per copy of a document.
 
Q: How much are certified copies of "sale papers" for property?
Estates: Sale papers consist of the Will, Order Admitting or Informal Statement, and Letters - $48.00.
Guardianship / Conservatorships: Sale papers consist of the Order Directing Sale, Order Confirming Sale, and Letters. Each of these documents consists of one page unless the legal description is unusually long. The fee for sale papers is $48.00.

Q: How and where can I get copies of court documents?
Please visit our Court Records Center.
 
Q: How do I contact the court with scheduling concerns?
Call the Probate Scheduling Clerk at (612) 348-6000.
Q:  Is there an estate or guardianship/conservatorship file in existence for a person?
A:  If you need assistance locating court records, please search court records online with MPA Remote or call Probate Court at (612) 348-3244.
To get details on how to store a will at the Hennepin Court, click the Wills tab on this page.

Q: What is Probate?
Probate is the action or process of:
  • proving the validity of the decedent's will,
  • determining heirs,
  • appointing a personal representative, and
  • handling conservatorships or guardianships of minor or incapacitated persons, all before a competent judicial body.
Q: Do I need to go through Probate?
If the decedent owned real property, in his name alone, of any value on the date of death there will need to be some type of probate proceeding.

If the decedent owned personal property, in his name alone, in excess of $50,000 in total value on the date of death, there will need to be some type of probate proceeding.

Q: What is a probate asset?
Real or personal property owned in the decedent’s name alone.

Q: What is a non-probate asset?
Real or personal property owned by the decedent with a beneficiary designation or held in joint tenancy.
  • joint tenancy property – non-probate
  • payable on death “POD”– non-probate
  • transfer on death “TOD” – non-probate
  • in trust for – non-probate
  • named beneficiary – non-probate
Q: If I am named in decedent’s will as personal representative, do I have the authority to act as personal representative?
No. The decedent has merely nominated a personal representative. The court has to "probate" the will; and the nominated personal representative, or an alternate, must qualify for appointment before the party can say they are personal representative of decedent’s estate.

Q: What are “Letters”?
Letters mean either "Letters of General Administration" or "Letters Testamentary," which are the evidence that the personal representative gives to decedent’s asset holders and creditors to show that the personal representative has the authority to act on behalf of the decedent.

Q: Have any claims been filed in an estate?
If you need assistance locating claims, please search court records in MPA Remote.

Q: If there is an estate, what is the last day to file claims?
The claims period is a four month period that begins after the date of the court administrator's notice. See the law at Minn. Stat. § 524.3-801. All claims questions should be directed to (612) 348-3244.

Q: Can I use a Power of Attorney rather than get appointed as a Personal Representative?
No. The powers granted under a Power of Attorney stop at the moment of the decedent’s death.
 

Avoiding Probate

Q: Does having a will “avoid” probate?
No.

Q: Do I want to avoid probate?
Not necessarily. You should consult with an attorney and disclose what your assets are, and to whom you wish to have those assets pass on to, upon your death. The attorney can offer you a variety of estate planning tools to achieve your goals such as: changing ownership on your assets, establishing a trust, arranging for a power of attorney, etc.

Q: Is Probate expensive?
In Minnesota, each county court has a set filing fee to open a probate court file. At this time, the fee is $324.00 in Hennepin County. In addition, there will be publication cost that is around $100.00. The cost of a certified copy of the “Letters” is $16.00.

Attorneys do not charge a percentage of the estate. Minnesota attorneys charge by the hour for probate work.
 

Wills

Q: What is a will?
A will is a written declaration of how you want your property to pass to others on upon your death.

Q: When does a will take effect?
A will needs to be probated by a court before it takes effect. Under Minnesota law, a will cannot be presented for probate until the decedent has been dead for 5 days.

Q: Do I need a will?
If you do not have a will upon your death, then Minnesota has laws of “intestate succession” to determine where your property goes upon your death. If you have no problem with the way the statute would distribute your property, you do not have to have a will.

Intestate succession laws generally follow your blood line, spouse, children, grandchildren or a version thereof, if you have a blended family. If you choose to give some or all of your property to an entity, or to someone outside this natural flow, you should have a will to make your intentions clear.

In the event that you need to protect the interests of minors or someone with a disability, it may be imperative to have a will to provide for direction of your assets upon your death.

Q: Can I informally probate a "copy" of a will?
No.
 

Attorneys

Q: Do I need an attorney?
We recommend that you get legal advice from an attorney. The court and its staff need to remain neutral in all cases and we cannot give legal advice.

You can get a list of attorneys familiar with probate by contacting: "Informal probate" is a proceeding where some people choose to handle their case without hiring an attorney (i.e., pro se). The Probate Registrars who handle the informal probate proceedings cannot give advice, help you complete forms, or transfer assets for you. If you need help with the forms or procedures, we encourage you to get advice from an attorney.
 
Q: How do I find out when a Mental Health hearing is scheduled, who are the attorneys, and where do I go?
Call the Scheduling line at (612) 348-3137 or main Mental Health number at (612) 348-6000. The court calendar with hearings scheduled each day can be viewed on this website and it is also posted by the elevators on the 4th and 5th floor of the C-Tower in the Hennepin County Government. There is a telephone near the entrance to Probate/Mental Health Court Administration that you can use to speak with staff.

Q: How do I schedule a case in Mental Health?
Contact the Calendar Clerk for Mental/Health at (612) 348-6000.

Q: How do I request (petition) that someone be committed?
You could file a petition with the court. The court does not publish petition forms, so you or your attorney must draft them. However, more often the process begins with a hospital administrator requesting commitment through the County Attorney's office.

Q: For what reasons are people committed?
Mental Illness, developmental disability, or chemical dependency. Mental Illness is further divided into those who present a physical and/or sexual danger to the public.

Q: Who can file a petition?
Generally, petitions are submitted by a hospital administrator working with the County Attorney. It is allowed, but rarely is a petition started by a family member or other concerned party.

Q: What happens once a petition is submitted?
The petition and documents are forwarded to a Hennepin County pre-petition screening team, which investigates the situation. If the petition passes the pre-screening process and a review by the County Attorney, the matter may be set on the court calendar for hearing.

Q: If I am the person who may be committed, am I entitled to an attorney?
Yes. The court will appoint an attorney to represent you unless you hire your own attorney.

Q: Can someone voluntarily commit himself/herself?
Yes. If the commitment process has started, you can discuss this option with your attorney. If there is no case filed in court, there are crisis centers and other resources that you may want to contact.

Q: What has to happen in court to result in commitment?
After due process and input from medical professionals, the court must make a finding pursuant to statute. For information on the standards required for commitment, review statutes Minn. Stat. § 253B and §253D.

Q: How long does a commitment last?
If any outcome involves commitment, the matter is by law reviewed every six months unless the individual is determined to be dangerous, in which case the length of commitment is indeterminate.

Q: Where do committed individuals go?
Most patients are committed to either a public or private hospital for treatment; the Anoka-Metro Regional Treatment Center serves as a back-up location. Patients determined to be dangerous may go to the Minnesota Security Hospital in St. Peter or Moose Lake.

Q: Can someone be released from the care facility before their commitment expires?
The treatment center issues provisional discharges when it is determined that the committed person (respondent) can be released under certain guidelines. The respondent is required to follow the guidelines set down by the treatment facility or they will be returned to custody.

Q: Can I expunge a civil commitment court record?
There are court forms to Expunge (Seal) a Civil Commitment Record. We strongly encourage you to get legal advice from a lawyer about this type of case.