Minnesota Probate Law | Publishing notice in the newspaper

Minnesota Probate Law Publishing Notice in the NewspaperIn every Minnesota probate estate administration, the personal representative is required to publish a notice to creditors and a newspaper of general circulation in the county in which the estate is probated.

We have discussed in previous articles that the county in which the estate should be probated is the county of the deceased person’s residency or “domicile”. Basically, this means the county where the decedent lived, had bank accounts, had vehicles titled, and where he/she paid bills from.

Why is publishing notice in the newspaper necessary?

Under Minnesota law, every personal representative must publish a notice to creditors in a newspaper of general circulation in the county where the decedent established residency. This is necessary because the personal representative is required to make extra efforts to identify potential creditors of the estate. Often times, a personal representative may not be aware of all the potential debts of the deceased person.

Common debts include credit cards, mortgages, utilities and other home payments, taxes, and other miscellaneous outstanding debts which one accrues during life.

A personal representative is taxed with the responsibility of being a fiduciary for not only the heirs but also the creditors. This can be a difficult and demanding job and it is one where the law needs to be followed very closely; otherwise, the personal representative could be held personally responsible for their failure to follow the law.

The publication process is rather antiquated and, in my opinion as a practicing attorney, a remedy that creditors are not likely to read. However, I was contacted by an heir who found out about a deceased person’s estate through an Internet search.  The notice to creditors was published in a newspaper which showed up on the Internet. I was surprised that the heir found out about the estate and I was pleased that the newspaper publication worked.

The above anecdote outlines the reasons why notice is necessary. In a previous article, we discussed the meaning of due process when it comes to a probate administration. Essentially, all heirs and creditors are entitled to notice of the existence of a probate estate while it is winding its way to the court system. The heirs and/or creditors will not necessarily have their claims paid, but they are entitled to notice.

What should be published in the Notice?

The notice to creditors must outline the existence of the estate, the name and address the personal representative, the attorney representing the estate, any notice of upcoming court hearings to appoint the personal representative.

As we discussed above, this notice gives creditors and heirs due process to be able to know what is going on in the estate. This is a extremely important function of the court systems. After all, the court systems are a supervisor of court cases and people, and attorneys, so that everyone is following the law.

Notice published in the newspaper does not mean that the creditor claims will all be paid. There are many exemptions and different arguments to creditor claims in any probated administration.

For further questions about notice to creditors, publication in the newspaper, exemptions, and probate administration a Minnesota probate lawyer should be consulted.

Minnesota Probate Lawyer

Flanders Law Firm LLC and Joseph M. Flanders are experienced Dakota County Minnesota probate attorneys. From also represents clients throughout the state of Minnesota on probate and estate administrations. For further information, contact the law firm at 612-424-0398.

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