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How long does probate take, and how much does it cost?

On Behalf of | Feb 14, 2022 | Probate |

When someone dies, the property that was once theirs becomes the property of their estate. The executor or personal representative of the estate will need to go through probate proceedings to properly handle the assets and debts someone leaves behind when they die.

Typically, until the probate process is over, beneficiaries of the estate won’t receive any assets. The biggest possession a person has could stay tied up in probate limbo for months. If you expect to inherit money from an estate or have agreed to serve as the executor of one, you need to know how long the process will take and how much it will likely cost.

What expenses and delays are typical of probate administration in Minnesota? 

What’s normal in Minnesota?

The costs of probate vary drastically from state to state. According to information provided by the University of Minnesota Extension, the average estate will complete the probate process in between 12 and 18 months. Overall, the average costs for this process will typically amount to between 2% and 3% of the estate’s total value.

The complexity of the assets in the estate and the conflict between beneficiaries will influence how much probate costs and how long it takes. An estate faced with a will challenge might require extra months to resolve, while an estate with only one beneficiary could complete probate in just over a year.

Is there any way to reduce the costs or length of time required for probate proceedings?

Small estates don’t require probate

Perhaps one of the best ways to avoid probate proceedings is to show the courts that the overall value of the estate is less than $75,000. Provided that there is no real estate included in that small estate, formal probate may not be necessary.

The testator can also speed up the probate process and reduce how much it costs through careful planning. They might move some of their property into a trust so that probate oversight won’t be necessary. They could also include clauses in their estate documents that reduce the likelihood of family members challenging their plans in probate court.