While probate litigation in Minnesota is unique in many respects, in a lot of other ways, a probate dispute will play out in court in the same manner as any other lawsuit. It is important to understand this basic process for two reasons. One, it can help a person both better understand the nuances of his or her case and successfully formulate a winning strategy. Furthermore, the knowledge of how probate litigation works can also give a person some sense of how long the case will take and how much the case will cost.
As has been reported on this blog in the past, there are many people in Minnesota and elsewhere who may try to sell residents, particularly senior citizens, a revocable living trust, claiming that the device will "avoid probate" and implying that it is a sure-fire way to avoid probate litigation.
As last week's post on this blog reported, sometimes probate disputes are not so much about the value of an estate as they are about how to interpret the estate's governing documents, like the will or the trust instrument. Thus, Minnesota families may find themselves embroiled in a probate dispute simply because no one can entirely figure out what a will or a trust really is trying to say.
Many Minnesotans may have enjoyed the novels of author Tom Clancy. However, about a year after the multimillionaire author's death, his family is engaged in a probate dispute that is starting to develop its own dramatic plot line.