To get details on how to store a will at the Hennepin Court, click the Wills tab on this page.
What is Probate?
Probate is the action or process of:
proving the validity of the decedent's will,
appointing a personal representative, and
handling conservatorships or guardianships of minor or incapacitated persons, all before a competent judicial body.
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.
What is a probate asset?
Real or personal property owned in the decedent’s name alone.
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
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.
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.
Have any claims been filed in an estate?
If you need assistance locating claims, please search court records in Minnesota Court Records Online (MCRO).
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) 348-6000.
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.
Does having a will “avoid” probate?
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.
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.
What is a will?
A will is a written declaration of how you want your property to pass to others on upon your death.
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.
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.
Can I informally probate a "copy" of a will?
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.