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Probate is a court process where we’re administering an estate and in Minnesota, you can do it in two ways either informally or formally. And the one you pick is based on the particular circumstance. Probate isn’t the worst thing that ever happens it can, of course, lead to increased costs or delays so certainly there’s times when we want to avoid it. So when would a client want to avoid it? Number one, if you own real estate in more than one state you definitely don’t want to have two probates going on, expensive, time consuming.
If you have a need for privacy, you don’t want to utilize the probate process because a will is public so people can go and look at that. And privacy examples would be you’re disinheriting somebody, you have a family business that you don’t want the world to know about necessarily. You might have a special beneficiary who has issues where you’re going to hold it in trust for them but it could be for a reasons like chemical dependency, mental health and you don’t want that out there in the public.
Another reason would be if you know there’s going to be a trust administration following a probate there’s no really to go through it, pay that, deal with the timeframe just go with the trust administration from the get go.
Eden Prairie, MN Estate Planning Attorney Karen Schlotthauer discusses what probate is.