In a previous post, we discussed how the difficulty of a loved one passing is often compounded by the need to address complex estate administration issues -- particularly as they relate to the probate process.
In recognition of this reality, we started examining some basic background information on the probate process here in Minnesota as a means of not only debunking some longstanding myths, but also providing parties who find themselves in these situations with a better understanding of the road ahead.
Who is in charge of overseeing a deceased person's estate during the probate process?
As stated last time, the probate process -- which is essentially the legal process by which a deceased person's estate is settled -- starts with the filing of a petition with the probate court and the appointment of a personal representative.
This personal representative -- often referred to as the executor or administrator -- is tasked by state law with completely and correctly managing the deceased person's estate, and bringing the probate process to a prompt resolution.
What exactly must a personal representative do regarding the deceased person's estate?
Some of the duties assigned to a personal representative include:
- Gathering and creating an inventory of assets of the estate, and determining whether a will was left.
- Protecting and preserving assets of the estate.
- Securing an appraisal of assets of the estate.
- Paying all outstanding taxes and debts owed by the deceased person's estate.
- Identifying heirs and distributing assets of the estate accordingly.
If the personal representative is tasked with promptly concluding the probate process, how much time do they have to do so?
The expectation under state law is that the probate process will be concluded within a span of 18 months. In the event this is not possible, the personal representative must petition the probate court for the necessary extension.
We'll continue to explore this important subject in future posts ...
If you have estate administration concerns or require assistance with the probate process, consider speaking with an experienced legal professional as soon as possible.
Source: Minnesota Judicial Branch: 2nd District, "Estates," Accessed Dec. 10, 2014