Probate is a court process. It is a public process. It is the process that is used to settle the final affairs of an individual who has passed away.

When a person dies all of their assets, their debts and other obligations become something we call “the probate estate.” The probate estate must be administered. To administer a probate estate means to go to court and file papers indicating that a person has died. The papers also request that an individual or a corporation be appointed “personal representative” of the deceased person.

This personal representative is then given the power to settle the affairs of the deceased person, more accurately, the probate estate. When someone dies they almost always have some outstanding bills. These may simply be the cable bill, water bill, garbage bill or the mortgage on a home. All of these things need to be attended to.

If there is a will the personal representative presents the will to the court. The personal representative provides an inventory to the court; provides proof of payment of all the debts or settlement of all debts. After all of these things are done distribution according to the will of the remaining property is done. If there is no will that final distribution is done pursuant to the laws of intestate succession. The laws of intestate succession are the laws that govern how your property is distributed if you die without a will.

Our Sioux Falls, South Dakota, law firm understands the importance of comprehensive, effective probate and estate administration. We can help you if you have been named the personal representative of an estate. We provide experienced counsel for administering an estate in probate, ensuring the accuracy of the documents and the timeliness of the filings. We can also help you contest a suspicious or poorly drafted will.

Mickelson Law Office, Prof. L.L.C. · Sioux Falls, South Dakota
605-334-9448  ·

Mickelson Law Office can administer your estate to help ensure your wishes are protected. As personal representatives named in your will, our attorneys can effectively work to ensure the property of your estate is properly distributed. As part of duties as personal representative, we:

  • Gather estate assets
  • Provide notice for all interested parties
  • Pay debts, including taxes
  • Distribute the remaining assets according to the direction of a will

Without proper administration, your loved ones could face court hearings and other costly legal matters before your estate can be distributed.


If you feel a loved one’s will is legally defective, we can help you contest the validity of his or her will. Certain legal parameters control whether or not you can litigate or go to court to have the will overturned. If you feel undue influence or threats were used to cause a relative to alter his or her will for the purpose of personal gain, we may be able to help. Other legal factors that can affect a will’s validity can include:

  • The deceased’s state of mind when the will was written
  • Any medical conditions or situations affecting the deceased
  • Improper signatures or witnesses
  • Fraud, forgery or other unlawful means used to obtain the will


Our law firm is located directly across from the courthouse in The 300 Building. Contact us at your convenience either online or by calling 605-334-9448 to speak directly with a lawyer.