7 Initial Duties of a First-Time Minnesota Personal Representative

Minnesota Probate Personal Representative First StepsWhat are the initial steps to take as a first-time personal representative in Minnesota? The attorneys at the office are often asked what to do next when someone has lost a loved one. This is a difficult time for many peoples and we have noticed that people simply do not know what to ask or where to start.

There is some good news:  it may not been necessary to do anything with the deceased person’s estate if the total value of the estate is under $50,000. This means that it would be a small estate and would therefore be administered by an Affidavit for Collection of Personal Property.  However, if the estate is worth more than that, a personal representative will need to be appointed by a probate judge.

7 Initial Steps of the Personal Representative:

There are certain things a person should do first when their loved one dies.  These tasks include:

  1. locate all assets of the deceased person
  2. locate all debts of the deceased person
  3. obtain the certificate of death from the county in which the person passed-away
  4. determine whether not the deceased person had a Will or other estate planning documents such as a Trust
  5. locate and contact all of the known heirs of the estate including the surviving spouse (if there is one)
  6. locate the contact information for all creditors of the deceased person
  7. schedule a consultation with a Minnesota probate attorney

Again, at times, a probate may not be necessary.  If the estate is very small, a lawyer may not even need to be involved.

What to expect from a consultation with a probate attorney

In every consultation I do with a client, I am looking for information on the deceased person’s assets and debts.  I will also ask for all personal identifying information on the deceased person; including: full legal names, dates of birth, social security numbers, and other personal information.

Once an attorney gathers the personal information for the deceased, the attorney will consider what assets may be exempt from creditor claims and what assets are available to pay estate debts. Estate debts may include such things as funeral expenses, expenses of last illness, and other bills.

After the attorney determines what the expenses of the estate are, the attorney will consider the possible distribution of assets (money) to the heirs and other beneficiaries of the estate.  This could be a large lump sum or, at times, the estate may be insolvent (meaning there may be no money).

If the estate is insolvent, it may still be necessary to conduct a probate administration to transfer title of a home or other real estate. When real property or homes are titled in the name of the deceased person, is often necessary to “clear title”.  This means that, in the state of Minnesota, the county recorders office will have to be notified of the probate estate and that the personal representative has been appointed so that he/she now has authority to transfer title to real estate.  This is a complicated legal issue and a lawyer should be consulted if you have questions.

Free Initial Consultations

Contact the Flanders Law Firm today.  The firm employs Dakota County Minnesota probate attorneys.  The firm offers free consultations to all potential clients.  Call (612) 424-0398.

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