While most people think of probate only in the context of the division of property when an individual dies however, there are many other types of matters determined in the Probate Court. For example, the Probate Court may be called upon to appoint a conservator to act on behalf of an individual who is mentally or physically incapable of managing his or her own affairs. The Court also oversees the handling of various types of fiduciary accounts, including those of conservators, guardians, and differing types of trustees. The Court may also be called upon to appoint a guardian for a minor child or make determinations in paternity matters. Sometimes, the Court acts to terminate parental rights when parents are not fulfilling their responsibilities.
The Probate Court oversees the distribution of property owned by an individual who has passed away. If the individual had a will or trust, usually the Court honors the individual’s wishes expressed in the will or trust. If someone dies without a will, the Probate Court then divides the property in accordance with the law. Part of the function of the Probate Court, in this situation, is to see that debts of the decedent, funeral expenses, and taxes are paid before the assets of the estate are distributed and interpret the intent of the testator.
Our probate attorneys provide a full range of services necessary for the handling of all types of Probate Court matters. Whether a matter involves the administration of an estate, the appointment of a conservator or guardian, or other matters typically handled by the Probate Court, we can provide you with the advice and legal expertise you need to properly and expeditiously complete all such matters.
The Firm provides services in the following probate areas:
- Disputes among Heirs; Competency and Undue Influence Litigation
- Representation of Personal Representatives
- Representation of Heirs
- Representation of Creditors
- Representation of Trustees
- Validation of Wills
- Undue Influence Litigation
- Competency Litigation
- Removal of Personal Representative
- Removal of Trustee
- Identification and Retrieval of Estate Assets
- Spendthrift Trust Litigation
- The Firm represented a leading female attorney against a major law firm in a probate court lawsuit and trial where she successfully asserted that her father, a founding partner, had legally conveyed to her, by will, his shareholdings in a professional corporation. (The lawsuit asserted, among other things, there was no valid shareholder agreement controlling the disposition of the shares.) The litigation resulted in a landmark case on an issue of first impression in Minnesota for transferability of shareholdings in a professional corporation.
- The Firm represented two of three beneficiaries in a probate lawsuit dispute. The case was the first of its kind in Minnesota, involving claims of client against sibling for taking estate assets and of undue influence based upon the decedent’s Holocaust Survivor Syndrome, an APA recognized subdivision of PTSD. After eight days of trial the court awarded over 80% of the estate to the Firm’s clients. This is believed to be the first case of undue influence over a holocaust survivor by son or daughter anywhere in the United States. The very top mental health experts on the holocaust and PTSD were brought into this case to support our clients’ (who were siblings of respondent) case, and the main expert in the country was flown into Minneapolis from New York City to testify at trial.
- The Firm has successfully presented legal actions to represent various interests of heirs who are in inter-heir litigation and challenging wills. It has also represented heirs in litigation, including the removal of personal representatives and Special Administrators and trustees due to improper conduct of personal representatives and trustees and other liabilities. The Firm has also represented Plaintiffs and estates in litigation involving collusion and abuse by vendors of professional and technical services to estates, such as appraisers.
- The Firm has successfully presented legal actions to represent various interests of heirs in inter-heir litigation including actions to challenge wills and actions to remove and appoint personal representatives, special administrators, and trustees due to improper conduct.
- The Firm has successfully represented clients in removal of trustees and other “fiduciaries” in wills and trusts.
- The Firm has defended estates and estate planning documents, such as Wills and Trusts, against attacks against spendthrift provisions and improper or fraudulent conveyances of assets.