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PROBATE COURTS, DESCENT AND DISTRIBUTION, WILLS,
EXECUTORS AND ADMINISTRATORS, ADMINISTRA-
TION, INHERITANCE TAXES, GUARDIAN
AND WARD, INSANE PERSONS,

AND FORMS

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COPYRIGIIT, 1922

BY
MARK B. DUNNELL
PREFACE

This book has been prepared in the belief that the probate law of this state is now sufficiently developed to justify a separate treatise devoted to its exposition. The Organic Act approved March 3, 1849, provided for probate courts with jurisdiction was limited by law.” The constitution of the state, as originally adopted in 1857, provided for a probate court in each organized county of the state and defined its jurisdiction in general terms. This provision has remained unchanged to the present.time, except the recent change extending the term of the judge to four years. Our probate statutes are not original but in the main were copied from the statutes of Wisconsin. Their ultimate source in this country is to be found in the statutes of Massachusetts and New York. Those relating to the administration of the estates of decedents are derived from the early statutes of Massachusetts, while those relating to the estates which may be created by will and to testamentary trusts and powers are derived from the statutes of New York. The probate statutes of Wisconsin were in force in the Territory of Minnesota by virtue of the act of Congress approved March 3, 1849, establishing the Territory. These statutes were adopted, without material modification, by the Legislative Assembly of the Territory of Minnesota at its second session, commencing January 1, 1851, and are found in the Revised Statutes of 1851. They form the basis of our present Probate Code which was adopted in 1889. The Probate Code did not introduce any very radical changes in our probate system, the most important change being that requiring all claims against estates of decedents arising on contract to be presented to the probate court for allowance. Prior to that time such claims were presented to commissioners appointed by the probate court, except in small estates. The Revised Laws of 1905 introduced a radical change in our probate practice by requiring all proceedings in the probate court to be initiated by petition. This overruled several decisions of the Supreme Court holding various notices jurisdictional. Laws 1913, c. 470, providing for the allowance of claims against the estates of persons under guardianship by the probate court, was repealed by Laws 1915, c. 342. Our statutes relating to the commitment of insane, feeble-minded and inebriate persons, were thoroughly revised by Laws 1917, c. 344. It is surprising how few radical changes have been made in our statutes since their original adoption in 1851. We have been far less progressive than the older states from which we took our statutes. While our statutes work fairly well in practice they need to be revised and supplemented. The fundamental distinction which they make between real and personal property as respects devolution, liability for debts and legacies, sale, and authority of the personal rep

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