What is a Personal Representative | Minnesota Probate Law

what-is-a-personal-representativeWhat is a Personal Representative?

Pursuant to Minnesota probate law, the personal representative is the person who is chosen by the deceased and/or appointed by the court to run the estate. The term “personal representative” is also how Minnesota law refers to this person.  The terms “executor” or “executrix” are not used in Minnesota.

This personal representative is also referred to as “the executor, administrator, successor personal representative, [or] special administrator” of a deceased person’s estate.

Duties and Powers of the Personal Representative

The duties and powers of the personal representative are defined in Minnesota Statutes Sections 524.3-701 to 524.3-721.  It is the personal representative’s job to settle and distribute the deceased person’s estate.  The personal representative must follow the instructions of the Will and/or the Minnesota intestacy laws if the deceased person did not have a Will.  The term “intestacy” means that the person died without a Will.  Different laws are applied in “intestacy” estates versus estates where the deceased had a Will.

The personal representative is also required to perform his or her duties “expeditiously and efficiently as possible while at all times acting in the best interest of the estate.”  It can be a big problem when the personal representative does not properly do his or her job.  Except as is differently stated in a Will, every personal representative has the right to take control of the deceased person’s possessions, property, and debts.  This will enable the personal representative to administer the deceased’s estate.

Foremost, the personal representative has a serious duty to look out for the best interest of the estate while simultaneously realizing that the estate there for the benefit of the heirs, devisees and any creditors.  The estate is not there for the benefit of the personal representative.  In fact, in the opinion of the Minnesota probate attorneys at the law firm, the job of the personal representative is often thankless and not much fun at all.

Powers of the Personal Representative

The personal representative must pay taxes on and take all steps necessary for the management, protection, and preservation of the estate.  Failure to do so may result in personal liability for the personal representative.

Until the estate is closed and the court allows the estate to terminate, the personal representative has the same power over the title to property belonging to the estate as the deceased would have had.  However, it is extremely important to remember that the personal representative is a “fiduciary” for the other heirs, devisees, and creditors of the estate.  Please keep reading different articles on this website if you have questions about what those terms mean.  Or, please contact the law firm to discuss your case.

Free Initial Consultations

Contact the Flanders Law Firm today.  The firm offers free consultations to all potential clients. Call the firm at 612-424-0398.

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