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Personal Representatives

In Minnesota, the executor of an estate is referred to as the personal representative. The personal representative has the responsibility of handling your estate after you pass. If you have been selected as an estate’s personal representative, you should be aware of the basic responsibilities you face and also consider consulting a trust and estates attorney. Mishandling an estate may result in personal liability for the personal representative. Unique Estate Law handles all of your trust and estate needs. If you have been appointed as personal representative of an estate, Unique Estate Law can help ensure you succeed in your duties.

Personal Representative Responsibilities

As an estate’s personal representative, you have some very important responsibilities. You must account for and adequately protect the decedent’s assets. The decedent refers to the person whose estate you are responsible for; the person that passed away. You must prepare an inventory of all the estate assets with their fair market values listed and distribute it to all interested parties.

You must also determine the valid debts of the estate and pay them. Notice that the estate is going through probate is published and all creditors have four months from then to make a claim. The personal representative must also pay expenses related to administration of the estate including funeral expenses and final medical expense.

It is extremely important that the personal representative is aware that there is a specific order of debt payment that must be followed. Failure to follow the priority order in which debts need to be paid can land you in a great deal of trouble. One of the most common mistakes that personal representatives make is to start paying off the debts of the deceased right away. Avoid this at all cost. Surviving spouses and children are entitled to the money before creditors. Once that is done—there might not be any money to pay creditors. If you start paying creditors first, you are taking money away from the family members. Credit card companies will often prey on unknowing personal representatives and start calling to offer settlements. Do not fall for this. Even if the deceased owed this money, the law states you must pay the family first!

Rights of a Personal Representative

You are entitled to be reimbursed from the estate for things like court costs and attorney fees associated with administering the estate. Additionally, you should be properly compensated for your services. The level of compensation depends on the complexity of the estate administration and your level of experience in being a personal representative.

If you act in good faith, you should not be found personally liable for the actions you take as the personal representative. Though, be careful. Acting in good faith includes exercising due diligence in all estate matters. Failure to properly execute your duties or make a certain effort in properly executing your duties can expose you to personal liability.

Reliable Counsel for Personal Representatives

Personal representatives carry a heavy responsibility. Failure to properly carry out these responsibilities can lead to big problems. You may believe it will save money to move forward with probate without an attorney but this may end up costing more in the end.

If you are interested in an estate planning consultation, contact us today by filling out a contact form or calling us at (952) 260-2043 with any questions you might have. Feel free to check out our fees page for pricing information.


From within Hennepin County Unique Estate Law represents clients throughout Minnesota, including Minneapolis, Edina, Bloomington, St. Louis Park, Minnetonka, Plymouth, Wayzata, Maple Grove, St. Paul, and Brooklyn Park.



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3800 American Blvd., Suite 1500, Bloomington, MN 55431
| Phone: 952-955-7623
333 Washington Avenue North, Minneapolis, MN 55401
| Phone: 952-955-7623
5775 Wayzata Blvd., St. Louis Park, MN 55416
| Phone: 952-955-7623

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