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Probate and Planning

Referral Guide

If you are seeking further information, or are considering the services of an attorney, the following resources may also be of use to you.

Office of Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson
445 Minnesota Street, Suite 1400
St. Paul, MN 55101
(651) 296-3353 (Twin Cities Calling Area)
(800) 657-3787 (Outside the Twin Cities)
TTY: (651) 297-7206 or TTY: (800) 366-4812

Minnesota Board on Aging
Department of Human Services

P.O. Box 64976
St. Paul, MN 55164-0976
(651) 431-2500 or (800) 882-6262
Senior LinkAge Line:
(800) 333-2433
www.mnaging.netexternal link icon

Minnesota Department of Health
Mortuary Science Section

P.O. Box 64882
St. Paul, MN 55164-0882
(651) 201-3829 or (855) 663-3078
www.health.state.mn.us/divs/hpsc/mortsci/external link icon

Minnesota Charities Review Council
700 Raymond Avenue, Suite 160
St. Paul, MN 55114
(651) 224-7030 or (800) 733-4483
www.smartgivers.org external link icon

Minnesota State Bar Association
Third floor City Center
600 Nicollet Mall, Suite 380
Minneapolis, MN 55402
www.mnfindalawyer.comexternal link icon

Residents of Dakota, Hennepin and Ramsey counties should call the below numbers for attorney referral.

Dakota: (952) 431-3200
Hennepin: (612) 752-6666
Ramsey: (651) 224-1775

All other Minnesota residents should contact:
(612) 333-1183 or (800) 292-4152

Minnesota Judicial Branch
Self-Help Center
(651) 269-3888
www.mncourts.gov/selfhelpexternal link icon

Glossary of Terms

Assets:
All property owned by a person that can be used or made available to use in the payment of debts and heirs.

Attorney-In-Fact:
A person who receives the powers allocated by a power of attorney, such as a right to handle another person’s financial matters.

Beneficiary:
A person or entity designated to receive property under a will or to receive the income or principal of a trust.

Codicil:
A document that amends or supplements a will.

Conservator:
A person or entity who is appointed by the court to make financial decisions on behalf of the impaired person.

Decedent:
A person who is deceased.

Escheat to the State:
When no heirs have made claims to either all or part of an estate, the state receives the unclaimed estate.

Estate:
All of the property owned by a person, including real estate and personal property.

Guardian:
A person or entity who is appointed by the court to perform duties related to the personal care, custody and control of the incapacitated person.

Health Care Directive:
A legal document that lets others know one’s wishes regarding medical care and treatment, funeral arrangements, organ donation, and other health care concerns.

Heirs:
Those persons, including a spouse, who are entitled to the property of a decedent when the decedent has left no valid will.

Jointly Held Bank Account:
A bank account that is held by two or more people, each of whom has a right of survivorship.

Joint Tenancy:
A property held in joint tenancy is owned by two or more people who have an undivided interest in the property, and the interest continues even after the other owners die.

Living Trust:
A living trust, also called an inter-vivos trust, is an estate planning device that allows a person to transfer assets to one or more persons before and after they die.

Payable on Death Account (POD):
An account, such as a bank account, that is handed over to a specified person upon another person’s death.

Personal Representative:
A person responsible for the administration of an estate. This includes paying creditors and heirs.

Power of Attorney:
A legal agreement that authorizes someone to handle or share in handling the financial matters of another person. A “durable” power of attorney can continue to give power to another in handling financial matters after incapacitation has occurred.

Probate:
The process of settling your estate after you die, including paying creditors and heirs, and validating a will (if there is one).

Property:
The money a person has and the things a person owns.

Revocation:
In terms of wills, the process or act of canceling or destroying an existing will.

Will:
A legal document that directs where a person’s property should go after that person dies.

Sample Forms

The forms and table contained in this section can be downloaded in a separate PDF file by clicking on the links below. They are available for use and are prepared according to statutory requirements.

The Minnesota Attorney General’s Office is prevented from providing legal advice to private citizens. However, if you have any questions about the forms you may consider contacting the Minnesota Attorney General’s Office.

The forms and table included in this section are the following: