Most of the time, Minnesotans are probably looking at six months to a year or more for a probate action to be completed.
There are various forms of probate in Minnesota. Probate proceedings may be formal or informal. Formal proceedings may be supervised or unsupervised. Formal proceedings are used, for example, when some of the beneficiaries are minors, the heirs are fighting, or the original Will is missing or not executed properly. Insolvent estates are routinely administered “formal, supervised” because the Probate Court needs to supervise the priority given to certain debts under Minnesota law.
A key driver of the duration of a Minnesota probate action is that creditors are given four months to make a claim after receiving official notice of the probate.
(Minnesota also offers a summary administration proceeding, which skips the four-month claim period for creditors. However, this proceeding can only be used when all of the probate assets are exempt from creditors under Minnesota law, and the value of those assets fall below certain limits specified by statute. Thus, the summary proceeding is often not an option.)
Another driver is the speed at which the personal representative is able to perform his or her duties. The personal representative of the estate has multiple duties, including determining the assets and liabilities of the estate, providing for the payment of debts, taxes and expenses, and determining who is entitled to distributions.
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