Lawyers in Minneapolis-St. Paul, Dakota County, Minnesota - Minnesota & Wisconsin Attorneys
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Probate Lawyers in Minnesota

Dakota County Probate, A Synopsis.

The probate process in Dakota County, Minnesota is the legal court process for paying a person's debts and expenses and distributing a person's property after that person’s death. In a Minnesota probate administration the person who has died is called the “decedent” and his or her property is called the “estate”.

> Intestate vs. Testate
> The Personal Representative
> Duties of the Personal Representative in Dakota County
> MN's Probate Laws
> Rules of Dakota County Probate Court
> Is It Necessary to Probate the Estate in Minnesota?
> How Long Does It Take to Probate an Estate?
> What is the Cost of Probate?  

Intestate vs. Testate    
Usually, a decedent's debts are paid from the estate and any property remaining is divided among heirs or beneficiaries, according to a Will (died testate), the (Minnesota) Uniform Probate Code, or the laws of intestate succession. If the decedent did not leave a Will (died intestate), the heirs to the estate will be determined according to the Uniform Probate Code and/or the laws of intestate succession.

The Personal Representative
The "personal representative" (sometimes referred to as the now antiquated terms: executor [masculine] or executrix [feminine]) of the estate is a fiduciary of the decedent's estate who will administer the estate for the benefit of all beneficiaries, heirs, devisees (devise, or disposition, of real property), and/or legatees (bequest of personal property). The personal representative is typically nominated by the valid Will of the decedent and appointed by the District Court in the Minnesota county where the decedent was domiciled (resided) at death. 

Should no valid Will exist or if a valid Will does not nominate a personal representative, Minnesota Statutes Section 524.3-203 defines who has priority among those seeking appointment as personal representative of the decedent's estate. Generally, first in line as personal representative is the decedent's surviving spouse, if the spouse is also a devisee. If there is no surviving spouse who is also a devisee, then priority is as follows (higher to lower): Other devisees, a surviving spouse (who is not a devisee), heirs, any creditor, and any non-discharged conservator of the decedent. No person is qualified to serve as personal representative if they are under the age of 18 or are found "unsuitable" by a court.

Once appointed by the court, a personal representative nominated in a Will receives "Letters Testamentary" and a personal representative not nominated in a Will receives "Letters of General Administration". These "Letters" authorize a person to act on behalf of the decedent's estate as the estate's personal representative.

Duties of the Personal Representative in Dakota County
Duties of the personal representative may include: (1) collecting income from the estate property, (2) paying any and all debts, claims, and expenses of administering the estate, (3) filing all necessary estate and income tax returns and reports, and (4) preserving, distributing and settling the estate in accordance with decedent's Will, the Uniform Probate Code, or the laws of intestate succession. The personal representative is usually represented by a Minnesota probate lawyer, who can assist with these duties and responsibilities.

Minnesota's Probate Laws and Rules of Dakota County Probate Court
The (Minnesota) Uniform Probate Code can be found generally in sections 524.1-101 to 524.8-103 of the Minnesota Statutes. These sections also contain information on spousal and elective shares. Information and laws on guardianships and conservatorships can generally be found in chapter 524 of the Minnesota Statutes. In Minnesota, the counties implement their own court probate rules and procedures within the law. As such, it is highly recommended to enlist the assistance of an estate attorney or probate attorney who is familiar with the specific court procedures for the county in which the estate must be administered.

Is It Necessary to Probate the Estate in Minnesota?
Minnesota probate law applies to people who lived in Minnesota when they died and to residents of other states who owned real estate in Minnesota (ancillary administration). Whether a matter is "probated" depends on a number of factors, including the type of property and the nature of the ownership of that property. For example, unless real estate (a home, a cabin, a farm, etc.) was transferred into a trust or was owned in joint tenancy with a right of survivorship, it usually is subject to the probate process. If you are considering a Will, you should consult with an attorney about the ownership of any real estate and whether there are advantages to certain types of ownership.  For personal property, probate is required if the value of the estate exceeds $75,000. If the decedent’s estate is worth $75,000 or less, the decedent's legal heirs or certain interested parties, as defined by Minnesota Statutes, may be able to collect the property by utilizing an Affidavit for Collection of Personal Property, which does not require probate court involvement. This allows for a small estate to keep its costs of administering the estate low.

How Long Does It Take to Probate an Estate and What is the Cost of Probate?
The infamous response: It all depends. On average, a "normal" probate takes 9 - 18 months to complete. Still, the length of time between the date of death of the decedent and closing the estate will depend upon several factors, for example, the type of probate proceeding that is chosen (informal vs. formal) and how it will be administered (supervised vs. unsupervised). The number, location, and accessibility of probate assets will affect the length of probate.  Similarly, the number, location and availability of the heirs may affect timing. Real estate may also creates delays, especially if the property needs to be sold. Although rare, disputes among heirs may arise concerning the validity of the will or distribution/entitlement of assets. These disputes, if not settled, typically require court intervention, potentially causing many months of additional delay and costs.

What is the total cost of probate? Again, this all depends on many factors, including the choice of administration proceeding. In Minnesota, the upfront costs for most the most common probate proceedings range from $750-750, which includes a court filing fee, legal newspaper publication costs, and certified copy fees. For the most common probate administration proceedings, you can expect legal fees to range from approximately $2,500 to $6,500. Larger estates with more complex matters, Will contests, unavailable or missing heirs, out-of-state assets, real estate matters, title issues, contractual issues, liens, contested creditor claims, medical assistance, accounting fees, co-personal representatives, etc. may add to these costs and fees.

The advice of an experienced probate attorney in Dakota County, MN can help you decide the best manner with which to proceed in the event a loved one passes and leaves an estate for which you are responsible. Legal representation during the probate process may also help eliminate unnecessary delays or costs due to noncompliance with Minnesota Statutes, the Uniform Probate Code and/or local rules of the Probate Court for Dakota County.

Trusted, experienced Minnesota probate attorneys.

Ensure that the probate process is completed efficiently and smoothly. Since 1975, our firm has been committed to providing the highest level of legal representation to our clients. At Taurinskas Law Firm, we treat our client's with courtesy and integrity. We provide efficient and honest legal representation that achieves desirable results.

We offer the experience and resources of a large firm while at the same time providing our clients with the convenience, accessibility and reasonable fees typical of a small firm. Our objective is to work with you to provide the assistance you need to efficiently and effectively manage your loved one's estate and to ensure compliance with applicable laws.

We estimate that more than 90 percent of our clientele is the result of repeat clients or referrals from clients. We truly appreciate these referrals and will make every effort to ensure these positive referrals continue with you

At Taurinskas Law Firm, you'll find experienced attorneys to assist you with any probate or trust administration issues or questions you may have in Minnesota. Taurinskas Law Firm is located in northern Dakota County in South St. Paul, MN.  Our law office offers a free initial consultation for probate or estate administration matters. A few matters you may face once it has been determined you are responsible to administer a loved one's estate may include:
  • Probate & Trust Administration
  • Formal Probate (Supervised or Unsupervised)
  • Informal Probate (Supervised or Unsupervised)
  • Summary Proceedings
  • Probate Property vs. Nonprobate Property
  • Intestate (no will) vs. Testate (valid will)
  • Letters of General Administration vs. Letters Testamentary
  • Personal Representative (Nominated vs. Appointed)
  • Creditor's Claims and other Debts of Decedent
  • Liens, including Medical Assistance Claims
  • Payment of Utilities and Collection of Rent
  • Funeral Expenses and Debts of Last Illness
  • Real Estate Sales and Conveyances
  • Asset Identification and Distribution to Heirs and Devisees
  • Inventory, Notices, Publication, Consents, & Final Account
  • Affidavit of Personal Property (Small Estate Affidavit for Assets ≤ $75,000)
  • Will Contests (Undue Influence, etc.)
  • Lost Original Wills, Will Copies, & Codicils
  • Separate Writing Identifying Bequest of Tangible Property
  • Ancillary Proceedings

P. James Taurinskas
Brian J. Taurinskas


At our law office, our lawyers provide probate and trust administration guidance and representation in all counties of the metropolitan area and in Greater Minnesota.

Please Note:  This site contains general information and not legal advice. It is based on Minnesota law in effect at the time of writing.  An experienced probate and estate planning lawyer can advise you about how the law applies to your specific situation.

The following information is solely for reference and educational purposes.  Taurinskas Law Firm, P.A. is not affiliated with, funded by, or endorsed by the Office of the MN Attorney General or any other State Department of Minnesota.

Additional information on Dakota County, MN Probate may be found at:

Dakota County Probate Court
District Court
Judicial Center
1560 Highway 55
Hastings, MN 55033
(651) 438-8100

    Here you may find additional information on the following Minnesota Probate topics:
  • What is probate?
  • When is probate necessary?
  • What items are not subject to probate?
  • How do I probate an estate?
  • How will the estate be distributed to heirs?
  • What taxes must be paid?
Established 1975
Phone:  (651) 451 - 9743
Fax:  (651) 451 - 3967

Dakota County, Minnesota Probate & Trust Administration
MN PROBATE ATTORNEYS CATEGORIZED AND TAGGED IN: Probate Administration | Estate Administration | Trust Administration | Personal Representative (Executor/Executrix) | Estate Tax | Gifts | Decedent | Affidavit of Personal Property (small estate - less than $75,000) | Probate Court | Will Contests | Undue Influence | Holographic Wills | Testamentary Trust | Heir | Beneficiary | Devisee | Fiduciary | Next of Kin | Bequeath | Bequest | Devise | Legatee| Payable-On-Death (P.O.D.) Account | Transfer-On-Death (T.O.D.) Account | Joint Tenancy | Tenancy-In-Common | Rights of Survivorship | Life Estate | Remainder Interest in Life Estate (Remainderman) | Life Insurance Proceeds | Convenience Accounts | Real Estate Transfers | Medical Assistance Lien | Debts of Decedent | Creditors' Claims | Disclaimers | Insolvent Estate | Uniform Probate Code | Probate Procedure Statutes | Affidavit of Survivorship | Personal Representative Bond | Elder Law | Irrevocable Trust | Revocable Trust | Irrevocable Life Insurance Trust | Uniform Transfers to Minors Act | Pension of Decedent | Investment Proceeds | Stock Dividends of Decedent | Probating An Estate | Probate Assets | Non-Probate Assets | Joint Assets | Cabin | Farm (Agricultural or Other) | Homestead | Million+ Dollar Estate | Elective Share of Spouse | Guardianship | Conservatorship | Succession Plan | Business of Decedent | Formal Probate | Informal Probate | Supervised Proceeding | Unsupervised Proceeding | Date of Death Value | Step Up Basis | Carryover Basis | Federal Estate Tax Exemption | Minnesota Estate Tax Exemption | Intestate Succession | Testate | Codicil (Amendment) | Original Will | Letters Testamentary | Letters of General Administration | Fiduciary Income Tax Return | Ancillary (Foreign) Administration | Out-of-State Real Estate | Estate Planning | Wills & Trusts | How long does Probate take? | What is a Personal Representative?

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At Taurinskas Law Firm, P.A., which is located in Dakota County, Minnesota, we proudly assist individuals with any probate, estate or trust matter throughout Minnesota, including the following communities: 55124 Apple Valley | 55337 Burnsville | 55010 Castle Rock | 55120 Eagan | 55121 Eagan | 55122 Eagan | 55123 Eagan | 55024 Farmington | 55031 Hampton | 55033 Hastings | 55076 Inver Grove Heights | 55077 Inver Grove Heights | 55044 Lakeville | 55118 Lilydale | 55150 Mendota| 55118 Mendota Heights | 55120 Mendota Heights | 55009 Miesville | 55055 Newport | 55057 Northfield | 55065 Randolph | 55068 Rosemount | 55075 South Saint Paul | 55076 South Saint Paul | 55077 South Saint Paul | 55077 Sunfish Lake | 55118 Sunfish Lake | 55057 Waterford | 55107 West Saint Paul | 55118 West Saint Paul | Burnsville 55306, 55337 | Eagan 55120, 55121, 55122, 55123 | Inver Grove Heights - Inver Grove Hts 55076, 55077 | Mendota Heights - Mendota Hts 55118, 55120  | South Saint Paul - South St. Paul - So. Saint Paul - So. St. Paul 55075 | West Saint Paul - West St. Paul 55107, 55118

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Minnesota Probate Attorneys | Minnesota Probate Lawyers

(651), (952), (507)

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