Probate Shortcut: Affidavit of Collection
Minnesota does offer a probate shortcut for some estates. As a reminder, probate is required after the death of a loved one where property passes according to the terms of a will (or not if the person did not have a will) (see this recent post). Any assets that pass by joint ownership, beneficiary designation, or trust are not considered probate assets. For many estates, this would take most assets out of the equation and leave just a few stray accounts for probate. In this situation, Minnesota law offers a probate shortcut - the Affidavit of Collection or "small estate" affidavit as it is sometimes called.
The affidavit procedure is outlined in Minn. Stat. 524.3-1201. Basically, where the entire probate estate, wherever located, less liens and encumbrances does not exceed $75,000 (increased from $50,000 in 2016), an heir can collect the asset using an affidavit. This process does require the heir to wait 30 days after the death of the decedent, and the heir will need to present a death certificate. This process cannot be used to collect real estate or where an application for the appointment of a personal representative is pending or has been granted in any jurisdiction.
If you need assistance valuing the size of the probate estate or completing an Affidavit of Collection, call 507-288-5567 to schedule an appointment.